On Thursday, officials from the University of Central Florida and Valencia College, as well as from the city, county, and state, broke ground on a transformational downtown campus.

The Dr. Phillips Academic Commons will be the first building to be constructed at the campus. A student housing project, to be developed by Ustler and KUD International, will join the main academic building in serving UCF and Valencia students in Fall 2019.


“Today, Central Florida gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of our new campus in downtown Orlando. The links in this message share stories and videos from this historic day,” UCF President John C. Hitt said of the groundbreaking.

“When it opens in 2019, UCF Downtown will serve 7,700 students from UCF and our long-time partner, Valencia College. Thanks to the power of partnerships — academic, government, industry, and philanthropic — we broke ground today on a project that will reshape the lives of students and communities for generations.”

The student housing construction project will feature a dramatic mix of facades dominated by glass on the first five floors, developers said. About 600 beds, a 600-space parking garage, offices, retail and restaurant space on the ground floor and 105,000 square feet of education space will be available to the 7,700 students who attend the campus.

Both buildings will join a full-service Walt Disney World School for Hospitality Culinary Arts as part of the high-tech Creative Village.

“The new UCF Downtown campus serves as a catalyst for the 68-acre Creative Village, which will further our revitalization efforts in downtown and Parramore. UCF Downtown will be as impactful to Orlando as the construction of our community venues, Medical City and SunRail,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said.

“The City has partnered with UCF and Valencia to bring the vision for the downtown campus to reality because it brings new educational opportunities for residents of Parramore, all while creating 2,000 new jobs and a more than $200 million impact on our economy each year.”

The City of Orlando approved projects that will be built concurrently to the downtown campus such as the Orlando Magic Sports & Entertainment District, a new K-8 preschool, and the Orlando City Soccer Stadium, which has been finished.

According to UCF, buildings that will be on or adjacent to the 15-acre campus are:

  • UCF’s Center for Emerging Media – housing the top-ranked Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy – adjacent to the new building site, and will be renovated.
  • A 600-space parking garage for students, faculty, staff and visitors to the campus next to the Center for Emerging Media.
  • A tri-generation plant that will be the primary source for electricity, chilled water and hot water for the entire campus.
  • A 15-story building that will include Valencia’s Walt Disney World School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, 600 beds of student housing, a parking garage, shared student space, offices and retail space.

“My commitment to UCF Downtown is driven by the vision that our new campus will transform lives through access, innovation, and impact. The downtown environment offers our students and faculty new opportunities for engagement, partnerships, learning, and research,” said Hitt.

“The programs we are moving downtown will generate better outcomes because they are downtown. Our campus will thrive because of its location in the heart of a growing city. UCF Downtown is yet another example of my firm belief that when we dream big and work together, good things happen.”

“As today showed, the best is yet to come for UCF.”