Korean tech billionaire set to build $1.2bn ‘smart’ town centre in Orlando

Kissimmee is the county seat of Osceola (Michael Rivera/CC BY-SA 4.0)
Plans to build a $1.2bn ‘smart’ town centre in Orlando, Florida, are moving ahead following an agreement struck between authorities in Osceola County and a Korean tech billionaire.

County commissioners on Monday unanimously approved the sale of 25 acres in the county’s NeoCity technology district to Young-hwa Song for $14.125m.

Song is the founder of DS Semicon, and holds patents for a number of technologies used exclusively by Samsung. The agreement, signed on Monday, was with DS Semicon’s US subsidiary DSUS. As well as the 14 acres agreed Monday, DSUS will have exclusive rights to negotiate to buy an additional 45 acres.

Capitalising on its proximity to Orlando, with its major universities and spaceport, NeoCity is meant to cultivate high-tech business and investment.

Song’s development has been designated the centre of NeoCity. The county said the development plan to be negotiated called for a 1.4 million sq ft retail and entertainment hub, 1,150 condominiums, a commercial office tower, movie theater, a 200-room conference hotel and a 700-seat event center.

Modern features will include solar energy, motion-sensing streetlights and parking spaces that can charge electric cars, reports local news station WESH.

The parties have until 13 December to formalise a conveyance agreement for the transfer of the property at a price of $565,000 per acre.

The agreement comes after months of the county courting investment from major South Korean tech companies and a trade mission to the country.

“It is hard to believe we are talking about a deal that will lead to an investment of $1.2 billion in our community,” said Osceola Commission Chairman Brandon Arrington.

“We took a long view when we started our development of NeoCity but we have moved rapidly to advance our priorities. Even so, we knew that it would take time, patience and capital to succeed.”

Osceola Commissioner Cheryl Grieb said: “This agreement is the latest proof that our investment in infrastructure is delivering a more economically diverse community with opportunities for all.”

Image: Kissimmee is the county seat of Osceola (Michael Rivera/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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