- The Walt Disney Co. has canceled plans for a $1 billion office campus on Lake Nona in Orlando, Florida, Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World Resort, said in an email addressed to community leaders.
- The entertainment giant first announced plans for the Lake Nona campus in 2021. The project would have provided offices for 2,000 workers in digital technology, finance and product development, including Disney World's Imagineers, according to the Wall Street Journal.
- Vahle’s letter makes no mention of the company’s ongoing feud with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has dueled with the Mouse over an education law that limits the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. DeSantis attempted to strip some of Disney's tax breaks in the state, made the Disney World monorail subject to inspection by the Florida DOT and placed rides at the theme park under inspections by the state Department of Agriculture.
Vahle emphasized that Disney’s enormous presence in the state will continue.
“Our plans currently call for us to invest $17 billion in Walt Disney World over the next 10 years and create 13,000 new jobs to continue doing our part as a leading employer in the hospitality and themed entertainment industry,” Vahle said in the letter. “We hope those plans will become a future reality.”
Those plans include 80 acres of land to create affordable housing in the community. Disney is targeting groundbreaking for 2024, with 1,400 units complete by 2026.
Much of the conflict between the entertainment conglomerate and DeSantis came to light when former Disney CEO Robert Chapek opposed policy changes around schools, such as the state’s Parental Rights in Education law, also referred to as “Don’t Say Gay,” by critics.
Canceling the project comes just a short time after current Disney CEO Robert Iger called out the state’s battle with the company during an earnings call.
“Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people and pay more taxes, or not?” Iger said last week.