Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer
gives the annual “State of Downtown,” but throws out the usual speech format and instead hosts “The DTO Show,” quizzing his staff about the future of Orlando.
Look out, Jimmy Fallon. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer tested his late-night-TV chops Wednesday during the city’s annual “State of Downtown” event.
Instead of the usual speech, Dyer hosted “The DTO Show,” quizzing his staff about the future of Orlando’s urban core.
Dyer — who quipped that he was qualified to host his own late-night show, having once appeared on Fallon’s — cracked jokes, flung cue cards and bantered with the house band at Ace Cafe Orlando.
By Dyer’s own description, it was as cheesy as Velveeta.
During the event, city officials unveiled an “interactive pocket park” at Orange Avenue and Robinson Street and gave an update on a planned sprawling urban park beneath Interstate 4, dubbed the Under-I.
Thomas Chatmon, executive director of the Downtown Development Board, said the city is in “advanced discussions” with the Orlando Magic about getting the team’s entertainment complex off the ground, including a new hotel and convention center.
“Having a convention hotel and conventioneers here, thousands of them every year, will put people on the streets between 6 and 11 p.m., [which] helps our restaurants and other entertainment venues, so I’m really excited about that,” he said.
Dyer’s staff also touted Creative Village, as well as soon-to-break-ground affordable housing projects in Parramore. Urban planner Doug Metzger predicted the longstruggling west Orlando community has “finally hit the tipping point.”
“We’ve got an influx of the education opportunities, new housing opportunities. I’m seeing the smaller businesses that are coming in and redeveloping their properties,” he said. “I really think where we’re at now is the beginning of the Parramore renaissance.”
Metzger also unveiled updated designs for the Under-I, which the city hopes to start building once the I-4 Ultimate project wraps up in 2021. The designs show a running track, picnic tables, basketball courts, a soccer pitch and a splash pad, among other features.
Orlando’s recently hired night manager, Dominique Greco Ryan, predicted the influx of students at University of Central Florida’s new downtown campus would create demand for everything from fast-casual dining to gyms and hookah bars.
“I think it’s up to us as a community and as City Hall to prepare for them to live, work and play, and just stay downtown,” Greco Ryan said. “We want to keep them downtown.”
After borrowing a charades-like game from Ellen DeGeneres earlier in the show, Dyer closed the event by ripping off Fallon’s “Thank You Notes” segment to crack jokes about the Magic, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Dyer’s own high school yearbook photo. He even took a shot at downtown traffic jams.
“Thank you, I-4 construction. We love our Orlando skyline, and you give us an extended look at it every day,” he said.
Dyer cracked jokes about the Magic, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Dyer’s own high school yearbook photo.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer acknowledges the audience in the balcony of Ace Cafe Orlando on Wednesday while taping “The DTO Show,” his presentation of the annual “State of Downtown” address, using the format of a late-night-TV talk show.