Skyscraper, world’s tallest roller coaster, announced for Skyplex on I-Drive
After months of rumors and speculation, a press conference was held in a run-down former go-kart track off International Drive to confirm that the “world’s tallest roller coaster” is on its way to Orlando. Skyplex is the name of a new entertainment complex to be constructed between I-Drive and and Canada Ave, which will have a first-of-its-kind 570-foot-tall Polercoaster — dubbed the Skyscraper — at its center.
Many details about the project — including exactly what shops or restaurants it will host, when exactly it will open, and how they will handle any increase of traffic on already congested I-Drive, are still (quite literally) up in the air.
Here are the details we do know from today’s announcement event, which featured ride designer Bill Kitchen making a dramatic arrival in a helicopter:
- The Skyplex is located north of Sand Lake Road on the east side of I-Drive, behind the Perkins and Popeyes.
- Skyplex will be located on the site of the defunct Fun N Wheels complex and adjacent bowling alley. It appears the Burger King there will be removed for the new complex.
- Skyplex with be across the street from the Mango’s Tropical Cafe under construction. Both projects are developed by David and Joshua Wallack.
- Skyplex covers 12 acres, with 300 feet of frontage along International Drive. The complex will also hold a 2-story retail space, for a total of 495,000 square feet of facilities.
- The Skyscraper tower will be 570′ tall, with the roller coaster wrapped around the outside, and an observation deck at 535′. There will also be a restaurant and bar at the top of the tower.
- The roller coaster will take 60 seconds to reach the top from the ground-level boarding area, and perform its first inversion at 55 stories above the ground. The total track length is 5,200 feet, and it will reach speeds of 65 m.p.h., with a total ride time of about 3 minutes.
- Skyscraper coaster cars will seat 8 (2 rows of 4) and feature “cummerbund” lap restrains with no over-the-shoulder harnesses.
- Tickets will cost “under $20″ for an all-day “unlimited” ride pass, and the ride can handle about 1000 passengers per hour.
- A 1,500-car parking garage (with available valet parking) at the tower’s base will enter and exit onto Canada Ave, in hopes of directing traffic away from I-Drive.
- There will also be a water and light feature built at the Skyplex.
- The project will be designed by US Thrill Rides and HHCP, and constructed by S&S and Euforria, with real estate services by CBRE Group.
- Total budget for the project is $200 million. “EB5″ foreign investors are being sought, but Skyplex representative Joshua Wallack says that the project already has commitments for financing.
- Groundbreaking is planned for 2015, with an opening some time in 2016.
After the press conference, I went up in a helicopter to survey the site. Here are some images captured at 550 feet, approximately the height riders will be during their first inversion on the Skyscraper: