Lake Nona's Medical City in Orlando is an economic success story that begins in 1995, when Orlando initiated the planning process for the physical and economic growth of approximately 19,000 acres south and east of the Orlando International Airport. The Southeast Sector Plan was to include an integrated mix of land uses; to provide for the design and financing of infrastructure, including a regional network with rail and transit; and to ensure environmental protections. The City engaged the private landowners and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, which in partnership undertook the development of a master plan for this area. The blueprint for a new community provides for economic vitality centered on the Orlando International Airport as an employment generator and promotes an integrated and accessible community (see Southeast Orlando Sector Plan map).

Southeast Master Plan

Completed in 1998, the Southeast Orlando Sector Plan (see Southeast Orlando Sector Plan Illustrated Guidebook) provides a coherent and comprehensive development plan for this area of the City. The Southeast Sector Plan recognizes the importance of the Orlando International Airport's future expansion and sets in place complimentary land uses. Mixed used communities are designed to be compact, offer a range of housing types and densities and to include an interconnected road network. The provision of schools, parks and civic uses is a key component in the planning area. A primary conservation network that preserves an interconnected system of wetlands, uplands, and wildlife corridors is another key element of the Southeast Sector Plan. Upon completion of the Plan in 1998, the City amended their Comprehensive Plan to reflect these long-term development goals and to include the development guidelines and standards associated with the Southeast Plan (see Growth Management Plan Policy Framework). Another critical component of the Southeast Master Plan is the wide range of incentives that encourage development consistent with tenets of the Plan, including expedited review processes, fee waivers and reduced impact fees.

Medical City at Lake Nona

Simultaneously, leaders at the University of Central Florida were in the process of planning for a new Medical School at the University of Central Florida. The Medical School would come to serve as a catalyst for future economic development. Building upon local, regional and state partnerships this goal was achieved and in 2006 the Medical School at the University of Central Florida opened its doors. That same year, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute chose Orlando as its site for their East Coast facility as a result of an extraordinary collaboration between public and private interests. The University of Florida Research and Academic Center, the Nemours Children's Hospital and Outpatient Clinic, and the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center have all begun development of new facilities in Medical City. In recognition of the emerging bio-medical cluster within the Southeast Sector Plan, the City amended their Comprehensive Plan, Orlando's Growth Management Plan (see Southeast Orlando Sector Plan Illustrated Guidebook), to incorporate appropriate planning provisions.

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