The restaurant chain recently split off from Darden Restaurants which is located off John Young Parkway, outside of the city limits.
The company will occupy three floors of CNL Tower I located at 450 S Orange Ave [GMap].
“The 1970s Red Lobster’s original executive offices were located in the heart of downtown. We consider this move a homecoming of sorts,” Salli Setta, President of Red Lobster told Bungalower.
The move will be one of the biggest lease deals in downtown since the recession and will make Red Lobster one of the largest employers downtown.
Setta says it was important for them to be in the heart of downtown.
“It also provides our employees with access to the best parts of the city of Orlando such as the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, the Amway Center, Lake Eola, the History Center and more,” she said.
As part of the announcement the company says in addition to the 300 employees they already have, they plan to hire an additional 70 employees over the next two years.
The new location will also include a culinary development center to create new menu items for their over 700 restaurants.
“It’s a place of innovation and creativity. We have a team of 10 people – 4 Chefs and 6 Culinary Operations team members – who work in the culinary development center,” Setta said.
The center will be more than 12,000 square feet and includes a kitchen, a tasting room, a training center and the culinary team offices.
Initially, the culinary center won’t be open to the public. However, Setta says there may be times when they invite people to participate in focus groups and other research-related activities.
And as for getting a Red Lobster in the downtown area. Setta says they have no immediate plans. The closest location will be on E Colonial at the Fashion Square Mall.
The move to CNL Tower I is expected to take place early next year.
Paul Ellis, group president of CNL Commercial Real Estate did make this comment in the press release: “I anticipate that we will see additional companies looking at downtown Orlando in the coming months given the growing amenity base and the increased transportation options like SunRail.
What do you think, will we see more downtown headquarters/office announcements soon?
Photo courtesy Red Lobster.
Here’s the complete press release:
Red Lobster Seafood Co. will establish its new restaurant support center and headquarters in 91,226 square feet of space at CNL Tower I in downtown Orlando. This is the most significant lease transaction to occur in Orlando’s central business district since the Great Recession.
The move, which is expected to be complete by early 2015, will locate more than 300 jobs in downtown Orlando. Red Lobster plans to hire an additional 70 employees during the next two years. Red Lobster will be one of downtown Orlando’s biggest employers, along with CNL Financial Group, the Orlando Utilities Commission, the Orlando Magic, Wells Fargo and the city of Orlando.
“Red Lobster has deep roots in Central Florida, and we are committed to remaining part of this dynamic, vibrant community,” said Kim Lopdrup, CEO of Red Lobster.
“The CNL building in downtown Orlando is the perfect place to begin this next chapter in our history because it allows Red Lobster to be at the heart of a growing business area and provides employees with access to the best parts of the city.”
Red Lobster will occupy three full floors of CNL Tower I, as well as have a custom-built, state-of-the-art culinary development center on the ground floor.
“Having an Orlando-based company’s headquarters moving to downtown is a tremendous validation of all the work that has gone into making the heart of Orlando more attractive for businesses and residents. We are delighted that our buildings have played a part of that revitalization,” said Paul Ellis, group president of CNL Commercial Real Estate. “I anticipate that we will see additional companies looking at downtown Orlando in the coming months given the growing amenity base and the increased transportation options like SunRail. We are excited to welcome Red Lobster and its employees both to CNL Center I and to downtown Orlando.”
Alex Rosario and Paul Reynolds from CNL Commercial Real Estate represented CNL and Sean McConnell from McConnell Capital represented Red Lobster in the transaction.
“Downtown is seeing more activity than ever before. With the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts nearing completion, Creative Village gaining momentum and the excitement around the future Orlando City soccer stadium, there is a growing buzz about downtown, which is translating to increased business interest,” said Reynolds.