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13 Apr 2018
Universal acquires land for rumoured new theme park
By Tom Anstey
Universal acquires land for rumoured new theme park
Although the company has not publicly commented on use for the land, a theme park has been heavily hinted at in planning documents and outward statements

Universal has acquired hundreds of acres of additional land in Orlando, leading many to believe the operator is about to build a third park in the area.

The move comes after Stan Thomas, the Georgia businessman who formerly owned of the land, finally agreed terms to remove restrictions that would block such a project following a long-running legal dispute.

When owner of the property, Thomas filed a lawsuit against Universal’s attempt to acquire the land, arguing that he still owned rights to enforce private deed restrictions, one of which included a ban on theme parks, a restriction which has been since removed.

Although the company has not publicly commented on use for the land, a theme park has been heavily hinted at in planning documents and outward statements. During the court hearing with Thomas, Universal’s lawyer referenced the theme park plans, saying they were “obviously super, super secret commercial information.”

“We are excited about our plans for this area, and we are looking forward to sharing more at the right time,” said a Universal spokesperson.

“We also look forward to working with our neighbors in the area and our partners in the community as we move forward.”

Although the amount of money the land purchase cost has not been revealed, Thomas’ affiliate companies related to property have wiped US$144.7m (€117.3m, £101.5m) of debt from those ventures. Now the land has been acquired, Universal must negotiate with Orange County on securing permits for roads and other infrastructure. In addition to a new theme park, the purchase would also open up the possibility for new restaurants, retail and hotels from Universal.

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