Construction on the new I-Drive Live shopping and entertainment area near the attractions is scheduled to start next month. The $200 million entertainment district will be over 95,000 square feet and feature a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Up until 2007 the area was home to The Mercado which was one of the most popular tourist spots on International Drive. The open air shopping area had hosted huge exhibits like Titanic and The Guinness World Records Experience. Competition took its toll on The Mercado and closed in 2007 when it was demolished. Enter Unicorp and Merlin Entertainments (operator of Legoland Florida) with plans of building a brand new shopping and entertainment area, which is now known as I-Drive Live and The I-Shops.
The centerpiece of the new I-Drive Live will be a huge observation wheel that will be modeled off the London Eye ferris wheel. It will be 425 feet tall and take visitors on a 30 minute ride so they can see the entire Orlando skyline. The new tourist attraction will also feature a huge 25,000 square foot Sea Life Aquarium and a Maddam Tussauds Wax Museum.
Some restaurants have already signed leases and include some well known eateries like Outback Steakhouse, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Carrabba’s Italian Grill. Restaurants new to the area include Cooper’s Hawk Winery, Chuy’s Tex-Mex Restaurant, and Seafood Republic.
All of the construction has a timeline of 24 months and should be ready by the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015. It will be an exciting new spot to visit on I-Drive and a great place to go hangout after a long day at the Orlando Attractions.
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