Town gets free Wi-Fi
Change is on the horizon for the town of Eatonville, and it starts with a cutting edge, seven-story-tall, Silicon Valley-style data center arriving in the small town.
Global data center company HostDime closed on a land deal last Tuesday with Orange County Public Schools to construct a seven-story, 88,000-square-foot office building as their new corporate headquarters at the corner of Wymore Road and Innovative Place – a step Eatonville is taking to bring new development and an economic boost to the town after approving the development a week earlier.
The new building will feature rooftop solar panels, 10 megawatts of electrical power, a 3-point check-in security process and enough building reinforcement to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. That level of security allows the facility to hold a high level FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act) certification, allowing it to service federal government cloud data storage.
The 5-acre property is just the first step in the building out of the 99-acre property on the south side of Kennedy Boulevard that includes the old Hungerford Preparatory High School building. Eatonville Interim Mayor Eddie Cole said the town will eventually look into building a new community center somewhere on the property to replace the school, which has served as a meeting place for local residents since it closed in 2009.
“I’m excited about the development… It will create a stronger tax base for us,” Cole said. “We’re seeing a projection of probably $100,000 to $120,000 of ad valorem tax, which is a huge boost for the town of Eatonville.”
Cole added that the HostDime building, set to be completed by 2018, could give the town new jobs as well. The developer agreement also states that free Wi-Fi will be available for all Eatonville residents and $1 million will go toward the Robert Hungerford Trust for scholarships for Eatonville children.
“We are very excited to see this land closing done,” HostDime CEO Manny Vivar said in a press release. “It is the biggest leap forward in getting our new facility off the ground and also to be the anchor for the development that will happen in the remainder of this valuable property along I-4 in Eatonville. We have been excited to partner with Eatonville for some time. The town is rich with underground fiber. This is going to be a gem in the Orlando area and a huge economic impact for the town of Eatonville.”
The new development comes during a significant time of transition for Eatonville, as the town is on the verge of electing a new mayor in a special election set for June 18. The position of mayor was left vacant after Mayor Anthony Grant was indicted for charges related to voter fraud in March. Gov. Rick Scott relieved him of his mayoral duties on March 29.
Cole, former-Mayor Bruce Mount and former-Councilwoman Frances Sealey are all in the running for the position of mayor.
It’s an exciting time for the town, Cole said, adding that there’s more development to come within the city.
“This is just a spin of what the future of Eatonville will look like,” he said. “What we’re looking at is things being ‘well done’ versus being ‘well planned.’ For so many years we’ve had conceptual drawings and it never came into fruition. Now we’re seeing some things that are actually going to be done.”