If you’re out of town or haven’t driven through downtown Orlando lately, you’ve been missing the construction of the “best facility in North America,” according to Alex Martins, the Chief Operating Officer of the Orlando Magic. Martins led a Media tour through the construction site of the Orlando Events Center on Thursday morning, leading us through the canals and to center court of the building. It’s a pretty amazing structure, especially when compared with Amway Arena. The Magic will play at the OEC beginning in the 2010-11 season.
The Orlando Events Center is 875,000 square feet, and you can plop Amway Arena (367,000) right in the middle of it.
There are only four public bathrooms at Amway. OEC? 18.
The OEC will have 1,428 club seats, something Amway doesn’t even have.
There will be a restaurant overlooking the court and several bars within view of the court. The bars will be adjacent to Church Street, meaning fans inside the arena can interact with people on the street.
Above the terrace level there will be a kids zone with jungle gyms and basketball hoops.
The team’s entire operations will be moved to downtown Orlando — practices, weight training, front offices, etc. “People truly have no idea the gem that this market is going to unveil a year from now. This will be the most modern, most technologically advanced and best facility in North America,” Martins said. That has to get you excited for the future of this team. It's shaping up to be a beautiful building, and its location - less than a football field from I-4 and in front of the downtown skyline - adds to the aura. It's already come out that Orlando will host the all-star game in 2012. "We've studied every building in North America," Martins said. "I'm talking about even places like Calgary. What we did during that process is we truly wanted to make this the best of the best. You've got bits and pieces from buildings all over North America being built in this facility." After the jump, a collection of pictures from today's tour.