Place:Celebration, Osceola, Florida, United States


Coordinates28.32°N 81.54°W
Located inOsceola, Florida, United States

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Celebration is a master-planned community (MPC) and census-designated place (CDP) in Osceola County, Florida, United States. A suburb of Orlando, Celebration is located near Walt Disney World Resort and originally developed by The Walt Disney Company. Its population was recorded as 11,178 in the 2020 census.

After founding Celebration, Disney followed its plans to divest most of its control of the town. Several Disney business units continue to occupy the town's office buildings. Walt Disney World operates two utility companies, Smart City Telecom and Reedy Creek Energy Services, that provide services to the town. The town itself is connected to the Walt Disney World resorts via one of its primary streets, World Drive, which begins near the Magic Kingdom.

Various New Classical architects participated in the design of buildings in Celebration. Downtown Celebration's post office was designed by Michael Graves, the adjacent Welcome Center by Philip Johnson, and the Celebration Health building by Robert A. M. Stern. Other well-known architects who have designed nearby buildings include Charles Moore (Preview Center), Graham Gund (Bohemian Hotel), Cesar Pelli (movie theatre), and Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown (SunTrust Bank).



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Early development

In the early 1990s, the Disney Development Company (DDC) established the Celebration Company to spearhead its development within about of land in the southern portion of the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Total investment for the project is estimated at US$2.5 billion.

The master plan was developed by two Driehaus Prize winning architects, Jacquelin T. Robertson of Cooper, Robertson & Partners and Robert A. M. Stern. The extensive landscape, parks, trails and pathways were designed by the San Francisco firm EDAW (now AECOM). Urban Design Associates, of Pittsburgh, PA, developed design guidelines, called a Pattern Book, as a tool for the design of new architecture within the community. Celebration is planned in an early 20th-century architectural style and is not zoned for high-density residences. Celebration was named the "New Community of the Year" in 2001 by the Urban Land Institute. Disney hired graphic designer Michael Beirut to design community elements including street signs, retail signage, manhole covers, fountains, golf course graphics, park trail markers, as well as home sales brochures.

The first phase of residential development occurred in the summer of 1996 with Celebration Village, West Village, and Lake Evalyn; this was followed by the North Village, South Village, East Village and Aquila Reserve and the final Artisan Park phases. Later phases included construction by a number of developers, including David Waronker.

Disney CEO Michael Eisner took an especially keen interest in the development of the new town in the early days, encouraging the executives at Disney Development Company to "make history" and develop a town worthy of the Disney brand and legacy that extended to Walt Disney's vision of an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT). DDC executives collaborated extensively with leaders in education, health, and technology in addition to planners and architects to create the vision and operating policies for the town.

There were a series of car accidents involving a retention pond adjacent to World Drive which required the addition of more safety structures.

Disney attempted numerous efforts to encourage economic and ethnic diversity among residents in the early days of development. The company placed advertisements in newspapers and magazines that catered to African-American and Hispanic demographics, printed brochures featuring racial minorities, and hired African-American workers in the community's sales office. In addition, the owners of the first 350 houses and 123 apartments were chosen by a lottery in an effort to prevent racial discrimination against homebuyers.[1] However, by 2000, it was revealed that the racial makeup of the community was 88% white, compared to the surrounding county's 59% white population. Demographers partially blamed the lack of diversity on Disney's decision to forego building subsidized housing inside the community, instead opting to donate $900,000 to Osceola County to help area residents buy houses under $80,000, below the market value of most housing in Celebration.[1]

Civil suit

In 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported that Celebration Town Center condominium owners "are battling leaky roofs, balconies that have become separated from the sides of buildings and mold spreading in their walls. Their properties have become so dilapidated, they say, they're having trouble selling them."

An April 2016 civil suit seeks to force the Town Center Foundation, a controlling entity under sole direction of Lexin Capital, "which took control of part of Celebration in 2004, to pay for upward of $15 million to $20 million in repairs" which were deferred over ten years.

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