Starting with the proven theory that when research centers are located near each other innovations and discoveries take place faster, in 2005 began to be outlined the idea of a medical city in Orlando.
Initially with a 20 hectares land donation for the University of Central Florida to build its medical school, and later with the acquisition of additional 10 hectares by the university for the construction of a hospital, the medical city began to take shape.
Today, in an area of over 260 hectares, it includes the following centers:
- Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute - East coast base of the renowned research center of San Diego. More than 300 researchers and scientists work at the Lake Nona facility. The center has one of the few robotic testing laboratories in the country, where robots perform lab tests very fast.
- University of Central Florida College of Medicine and Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences - Staff of over 1000 professionals, with 2400 college students, and more than 300 post graduate students, and nearly 70 PhDs candidates.
- Nemours Children’s Hospital - Hospital, campus and outpatient clinic of one of the largest US pediatric systems.
- University of Florida Academic and Research Center - 100,000 square feet forms the medical campus of the oldest Florida public university.
- Valencia College at Lake Nona - One of the five campus of this Orlando public college.
- Veterans Affairs Medical Center (under construction). At the cost of 650 million dollars, the state of the art hospital will take care of more than 400,000 veterans living in Central Florida.
It is expected that upon completion, the medical city will create more than 30,000 direct jobs, being 5000 of high paying professional jobs, with an impact of more than $ 7 billion into the local economy over the next decade. According to experts, the medical city may in the future have more economic impact than theme parks to Orlando.
Lake Nona is more than a medical center. It is an academic, research and treatment of state-of-the-art city.
To date there has been close to 3 billion in investments and donations, and despite the difficult period after the 2008 crisis, when the grants and incentives suffered a considerable pause, the city passed the test and came out stronger from the crisis.
The USTA, American Tennis Association is building its new facility at Lake Nona, which will replace its old center in Boca Raton. There will be over 100 tennis courts in a63 acres campus. Expected to open in 2016.
The Lake Nona Golf Club, which existed before the medical city, is considered one of the best in the country.
Hotels and more new shopping centers are being built.
According to the New York Times, Orlando now has a new attraction. Medical attraction. Forbes says Lake Nona can cause a transformation to Orlando greater than the transformation caused by the opening of Disney World in the 70s.
Also according to Forbes, other technology centers have already been created, but without all this success, simply because none was thought of so complete, including technological, commercial and residential planning, keeping as a priority the quality of life of its residents.
The magazine continues to show that the success of Lake Nona will probably not be replicated in other experiences. Lake Nona took: vision, land, ideas, investment, and especially donations without expectation of a quick return, as it was the case with American billionaire Joe Lewis of Tavistock Group. Lewis was the master planner of the project, and donated much of the land, as well as resources so that the project could become a reality.
Because it is a new area, well planned, that offers a complete range services and first class public schools, Lake Nona is attracting new residents outside the medical field. This is forming a snowball effect for the positive development of the area. Better communities, better services, better restaurants, better schools, better job opportunities.
The surrounding area is very well thought out. Several small neighborhoods with commercial centers and various services, designed to be of walking distance from communities and apartments. There are now over 44 miles of bike paths and trails.
In most Lake Nona residential communities you find mostly young professionals and families with children. You will see many people doing outdoor activities, such as running, walking, riding bicycles, playing tennis. The idea we have is that of a healthy city, young and vibrant. Many residential developments offer an American architecture, very different from what you usually see in Florida, creating an air of uniqueness from other residential areas.
Despite being 20 miles from Disney (about half an hour drive), Lake Nona has become a great alternative for those who want a home in Orlando, in a more secluded area, away from tourists and theme parks. Lake Nona is next to the Orlando airport.
Even if you have home in Orlando in other areas of the city, or if you come visit Orlando, it's worth visiting this planned city to understand how all this success was possible in such a short period of time.