Universal Orlando has submitted plans for two hotels with 4,000 rooms, three pools and a parking garage that will fill the 36-acre former home of Wet ‘n Wild.
The plans will be considered Tuesday by Orlando’s Municipal Planning Board before heading to Orlando City Council members for review July 10 and July 24.
City documents provide a first glimpse of the development that sits a mile and a half east of the theme park on I-Drive.
Universal has requested the property be rezoned from AC-3 (commercial) to a planned unit development. They also need a waiver to allow the parking garage to front on I-Drive. Current zoning requires parking garages be built on the back of developments in the Metropolitan Activity Center, which has the highest intensity of development outside of downtown Orlando. If approved, city staff has recommended the garage be screened and designed so it doesn’t look like a parking structure.
At the southwest corner of I-Drive and Universal Boulevard, Universal is proposing a plaza with a large art feature, water feature, and pedestrian amenities such as benches to break up the existing monotonous streetscape of the quarter mile of frontage on I-Drive. The design is Universal’s plan to circumvent the required 40-foot setback requirements for buildings along the main thoroughfare of the tourist corridor.
City staff said the development is consistent with the city’s Growth Management Plan and has recommended approval with a long list of conditions.
Wet ‘n Wild closed in December and was replaced by Universal’s new water park, Volcano Bay.