Disney scraps plans for new Florida campus as feud with Governor DeSantis continues
Walt Disney Co DIS.N is scrapping plans to build a nearly $1 billion corporate campus in central Florida that would have housed 2,000 employees, according to an e-mail to employees on Thursday, against the backdrop of its ongoing legal battle with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Disney parks chief Josh D'Amaro said "changing business conditions" prompted Disney to reconsider its 2021 plan to relocate employees, including its Imagineers who design theme park rides, to a new campus in Lake Nona.
The company was expected to spend as much as $864 million on the project, according to the Orlando Sentinel, on a campus that would have served as a base for Walt Disney Imagineering and the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products division.
Disney's decision to move the California-based Imagineering staffers across the country drew complaints from employees, many of whom said they did not want to move to Florida.
"Given the considerable changes that have occurred since the announcement of this project, including new leadership and changing business conditions, we have decided not to move forward with construction of the campus," D'Amaro wrote. "This was not an easy decision to make, but I believe it is the right one."
A week ago, Disney CEO Bob Iger publicly questioned Florida's interest in the company's continued investment in the state. In a call with investors to discuss quarterly results, he noted that Disney employed more than 75,000 people in Florida, attracts millions of visitors each year to Walt Disney World and had plans to invest $17 billion to expand the resort over the next decade.
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