Making Magic: Amway Center Success Stories

Making Magic: Amway Center Success Stories


As developers of the new Amway Center, the Orlando Magic, along with the City of Orlando, are using the project to make a significant impact on local minority and women-owned businesses. To date 173 contracts worth $95 million of the committed construction work have been awarded to Certified Minority and/or Women Owned Business Enterprises. Of those contracts awarded, 66 are African-American firms, 36 are Hispanic owned, 20 are Asian businesses, 49 are women-owned and two are Native American-run businesses. Minorities have also made up nearly 60 percent of the workforce on the project.

Orlandomagic.com’s John Denton recently took a look at three local success stories.




Tower of Power

ORLANDO – Sunil Tarheja has seen firsthand how the Orlando Magic and City of Orlando have gone the extra mile to make sure that Certified Minority and/or Women Business Enterprises have been major contributors to the construction of the dazzling new Amway Center.

Tarneja, the president of C.T. Windows Inc. and Architectural Aluminum Techniques, has overseen part of the construction on the iconic, 180-foot entry beacon at the northeast corner of the arena. The beacon will glow with its translucent mesh skin and will be illuminated by more than 200 LED lights.

Orlando’s Alpha Manufacturing, Inc. is handling the stainless steel portion of the tower, while C.T. Windows is responsible for the glass scope part of the tower. The stainless steel portion of the tower is composed of 48 10-foot X 10-foot panels, while the massive glass project will involve 20 workers doing installation for almost a year’s time.

The dual construction of the iconic tower is a perfect example of how the Orlando Magic and City of Orlando have divided up the work to make sure that several local businesses get work in a time when the economy is still sluggish.


To date, 173 contracts worth $95 million of the committed construction work have been awarded to Certified Minority and/or Women Owned Business Enterprises. Of those contracts awarded, 66 are African-American firms, 36 are Hispanic owned, 20 are Asian businesses, 49 are women-owned and two are Native American-run businesses. Minorities have also made up 60 percent of the workforce on the project.

None of that has happened, of course, by accident. And business owners such as Tarheja have taken notice of the Magic’s and City of Orlando’s commitment to involving minority and women-owned businesses.

``They have done a great job involving the local companies and ensuring that there will jobs for people here,’’ Tarheja said. ``They have gone more than the extra mile and have put in a lot of time to make sure that the work gets spread around. Most of the construction projects around here in the past haven’t been able to do what they are doing here. It’s not easy to do, but they have broken a lot of the jobs up into smaller pieces so more companies could be involved in the process. Them going the extra mile like this, it isn’t something that goes on a lot. So I applaud them.’’

The 875,000-square-foot Amway Center is slated to open in October. The Magic are the developers of the facility, which will almost triple the size of the existing Amway Arena where the Magic have played the past 21 years.

The state-of-the-art building features a sustainable, environmentally friendly design and will be fully L.E.E.D. certified. It will also have 1,100 digital monitors and the largest, high-definition scoreboard/videoboard in the NBA. And every ticket buyer in the building will have access to the Everyfan’s Bar and Food Court, Club Restaurant, The Nutrilife Magic Fan Experience and Orlando Info Garden, Kid’s Zone and several indoor/outdoor spaces.

Certain to catch the eye of those in downtown Orlando is the 180-foot beacon at the northeast corner of the facility. The energy-efficient light display inside the beacon allows for an ever-changing kinetic light display that can change colors based on the event being held inside.

The beacon is grounded in the first-floor retail space and penetrates upward through meeting/hospitality space and outdoor terrace bars on each of the public concourse levels, creating an interactive element through all four levels.

``It’s certainly going to be a focal point of downtown,’’ said Steve Kuhle, vice president of Alpha Manufacturing Inc., which is located downtown near the Parramore area. ``Even though it’s smaller than some of the buildings downtown, it will still be a focus. It will stand out to the people driving on I-4 and the 408 and it’s going to be amazing to see with the changing colors.’’

Alpha Manufacturing specializes in stainless steel fabrication and has made mostly toll booths in the past. But Kuhle said Alpha took on this job to show its diversity as a manufacturer. Also, it’s given the company extra work in a time when the construction industry took a dramatic downturn because of the economy.

``It has certainly been a great shot in the arm for us with the business and the cash flow that the job has provided,’’ said Kuhle, who is using 12 workers to spend six weeks fabricating the steel for the tower and another six weeks installing the massive bolted-in panels.

``When we first got involved with this project we were all telling ourselves that we could drive down the road and point and say, `I did that’ and `I helped build that,’’’ Kuhle continued. ``And definitely one of the reasons we took this job on was to show that we can do different things as a company than just (toll booth) construction. We can point to this and everyone will see it.’’



Take A Seat

ORLANDO – As a big fan of the Orlando Magic, Eugene Roberson Jr. takes great pride in having his Orlando-based company install the seats inside the Amway Center – seats he’ll someday sit in as a Magic season-ticketholder.

But Roberson’s pride in being involved in the massive construction project of the Amway Center also stretches well beyond his love for the Magic. It’s also a dollars and financial sense issue for his DEM Development Corp., Inc.

``Without the job at the arena we’d be dead in the water,’’ Roberson Jr. said rather bluntly. ``Before the recession I knew of so many companies that were doing well, but now I can list then on one hand. I’ve been absolutely blessed to get this contract work because it has helped us stay afloat.

``Before this job we were scratching and scrambling just to try and stay afloat,’’ Roberson Jr. continued. ``But this opportunity kept us afloat and now I can pay off my bills and keep looking for other work.’’


DEM Development is installing the seating and the black-out curtains in the sparkling Amway Center, which is slated to open in October. It will seat 18,500 for NBA games, 19,700 for center-stage concerts, 20,000 for NCAA basketball games and 17,200 for hockey/arena football events. There are 60 private, low-level suites, 1,400 club seats and 68 lodge boxes (328 seats). And the building’s technology, provided by Harris Corporation, will make the facility state-of-the-art with the 1,100 screens of HD content.

The construction project has provided work to companies that would have likely been adversely affected by the nation’s sagging economy. And it’s been a boon to minority and women-owned businesses in Central Florida.

The contracts afforded to DEM Development Corp. Inc., are in line with the mission of the Orlando Magic and City of Orlando that the construction of the new facility serve as employment opportunities for several local minority and women-owned businesses.

To date 173 contracts worth $95 million of the committed construction work have been awarded to Certified Minority and/or Women Owned Business Enterprises. Of those contracts awarded, 66 are African-American firms, 36 are Hispanic owned, 20 are Asian businesses, 49 are women-owned and two are Native American-run businesses. Minorities have also made up nearly 60 percent of the workforce on the project.

Roberson, for one, couldn’t be happier about being involved in the project. ``Are you kidding me? This is off the chain for us,’’ Roberson Jr. said. ``We’re excited and honored to be a part of helping build a facility that this area will get to enjoy for a long time.’’

DEM Development Corp., and Orlando-based company since 2003, is currently using six employees to install the stationary seating inside the Amway Center. The company will soon move on to installing the telescopic seating inside the facility and many as 10 employees will be at work.

Roberson Jr., DEM’s owner, rarely misses a Magic game and hopes to be in the Amway Center next October when Orlando could be potentially raising a championship banner.

``What we did last year getting to the Finals, really set everything in motion,’’ Roberson Jr. said. ``Now all of the national newscasters give the Magic more respect. Guys know they can’t mention L.A, and Cleveland without mentioning Orlando as well.

``What better way to start next season with a new arena and a brand new champion here in Orlando.’’



Wire-To-Wire

ORLANDO – Taking on a project where the job is to install enough wire in the sparkling, new Amway Center that would stretch from Orlando to Clearwater Beach might be overwhelming to some companies.

But not to BRS, Inc. owner Warner Bell, who has been involved in some of the biggest projects in Central Florida history. Almost before his own eyes, he’s seen the Central Florida area grow up around him. And now he considers being a part of the construction of the Amway Center as almost a badge of honor.

After all, Bell was there in 1970 as one of the first employees who helped build Disney World in suburban Orlando. And in 1981, he was the first Electronics Manager at Orlando International Airport and ultimately helped install the Air Sat II sound system throughout the massive facility. And when the Super Bowl came to Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium in 2009, it was Bell’s company who worked with the NFL to wire the facility for sport’s biggest game.


He and wife Anna, the co-owners of Altamonte Springs’ BRS, Inc., came with plenty of stellar credentials when it came to the job of wiring the massive Amway Center, which is slated to open in October as one of the premier facilities in the country. Undertaking this project as a sub-contractor to ProSound certainly didn’t overwhelm Bell because of his years of experience in the field.

``It’s a really large job, but we’ve done a lot of work at the airport and with Tampa’s football stadium and for the Super Bowl in 2009, so we’re used to doing the bigger arenas and venues,’’ Bell said confidently.

Bell’s company has had 12 workers in the arena the past two months, putting in some 8,000 man hours and laying 48 miles of wire. Another six weeks or work is still ahead for the company and by then the amount of wiring inside the Amway Center is expected to exceed 100 miles.

The Amway Center is breathtaking in what it will provide for patrons in the future. It will seat 18,500 for NBA games, 19,700 for center-stage concerts, 20,000 for NCAA basketball games and 17,200 for hockey/arena football events. There are 60 private, low-level suites, 1,400 club seats and 68 lodge boxes. And the building’s technology, provided by Harris Corporation, will make the facility state-of-the-art with the 1,100 screens of HD content.

The construction project has provided work to some companies that would have likely been adversely affected by the nation’s sagging economy. And it’s been a boon to minority and women-owned businesses in Central Florida.

The contracts afforded to BRS, Inc., fall in line with the mission of the Orlando Magic and City of Orlando that the construction of the new facility serve as employment opportunities for several local minority and women-owned businesses.

To date 173 contracts worth $95 million of the committed construction work have been awarded to Certified Minority and/or Women Owned Business Enterprises. Of those contracts awarded, 66 are African-American firms, 36 are Hispanic owned, 20 are Asian businesses, 49 are women-owned and two are Native American-run businesses. Minorities have also made up nearly 60 percent of the workforce on the project.

``I think the fact that minority-owned companies are getting a slice of the work is very important to our community,’’ said Bell, an African-American. ``But what is even more important is that we’re keeping that money for these jobs here in Central Florida. You wouldn’t want these companies coming in here and taking that money back to, say, Milwaukee. But keeping the money here really helps our community.’’

Bell can’t wait to take his family to the new Amway Center to take in a Magic game or a concert. And rest assured, he’ll be listening closely to the quality of the sound in the facility – the same way he does when he catches a flight at OIA or visits Disney.

``I take pride in my work and I always listen to the quality and I have made a call before and told them to tweak this or fix that to make it sound better,’’ Bell said with a laugh. ``Really, when you do work like this, it’s like your baby and you nurture it and you expect other people to take the same sort of pride in it.’’