New Osceola Co. commerce center could provide 12,000 jobs

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Osceola County leaders just approved a major new project that promises to create more than 12,000 jobs.

The Center for International Commerce will be built on 192, just west of the Silver Spurs Arena.

"This is probably the biggest thing to come to Central Florida since Disney," said Frank Attkisson, Osceola County chairman.

Attkisson said the county land is going to a Chinese investment company for the creation of a 1.5 million-square-foot center for international commerce. The center would be a meeting place for business owners and manufacturers from all over the world.

"So many businesses in America that are involved in import-export, they have to make trips three or four times a year globally to talk to manufacturers. Well, the manufacturers will put reps in this facility," Attkisson said.

From start to finish, the center is expected to bring more than 12,000 jobs to Osceola County, enough to fill the nearby Silver Spurs Arena.

Project backers said six-figure salaries could be made and there will be a lot of IT jobs.

John Bonis, an Osceola County resident, was outside an employment office when he heard the news. Bonis said jobs are badly needed in Osceola County.

"I've been out of work since March, and the job market out there is tough," Bonis said.

The county's unemployment rate stands at almost 9 percent and more than 12,000 people are out of work in the county. Leaders hope the project could be key to turning things around.

Half of the jobs will be in construction and the rest will run the facility.

The property could also include a hotel. Workers could break ground next summer.