ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando City Soccer unveiled renderings Tuesday of the team's new stadium, which is expected to open prior to the 2016 Major League Soccer season.
The $115 million stadium will seat nearly 20,000 people and will feature a full 360-degree lower bowl built below ground level with a unique three-stand seating upper bowl.
There will also be full roof canopies that cover all seats to the front row on the east, west and north ends that will be designed to enhance and amplify the crowd noise and protect fans from the elements.
“This is yet another great step in our journey to Major League Soccer,” said Orlando City President Phil Rawlins. “We are developing a venue that will make soccer fans proud. We set out not just to build a stadium, but to push the envelope on design ideas and concepts. We took some of the best ideas from around the world and incorporated them into a venue which reflects our home in Florida.”
Plans are in place for an open and expansive fan plaza on the south end leading into the Church Street Sports and Entertainment Corridor, which officials expect to serve as a large common gathering area for fans during events.
"It is just going to liven up the neighborhood immensely," said Orlando resident Donna Swopes. "Downtown is absolutely amazing from what it used to be."
Residents of Parramore told Channel 9 they hope the stadium not only attracts soccer fans but also shops and restaurants thus creating jobs.
"It's giving Orlando to become a big city and that's what I always wanted it to be," said resident Lee Garner.
Church Street will be closed to vehicle during Orlando City games, as they do now for Orlando Magic games.
Underground future expansion infrastructure will also be built-in to allow for future seating expansion in the stadium corners.
The new stadium will house multiple VIP areas, including a midfield Club Lounge with views of the playing field, up to 38 luxury suites and an elevated 360-degree balcony-style bar within the scoreboard structure.
Officials said the field will be made of natural grass.