Since I moved to the Central Florida back in 1976 the OBT area has been a tough spot for the City of Orlando. OBT which is short for Orange Blossom Trail at one point was a very vibrant and viable area of the City. Some of the finest homes were built in and around the area. Beautiful lakes surround the OBT area still. For work there was Martin Marietta which is now Lockheed Martin was just around the corner/ Also there is Disney World only 15 miles away.The local attractions, International Drive attractions and the City life downtown in Orlando was the main draw of this once International Destination.
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OBT – Orange Blossom Trail
At some point in the 1970′s, as I remember it, developers started building huge resorts right on Disney property. As they built larger, more grandiose and more luxurious hotels it quickly started taking away from the OBT area. Over time, old attractions expanded and new attractions where added to the area near Disney World such as Universal Studios, Islands Of Adventure, Sea World, EPCOT, Wet And Wild and City Walk to name a few. Slowly, the focus began to move away from the OBT area. The new focus shifted to the main attraction areas and building new homes closer to those areas. Leaving the once beautiful OBT behind.
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OBT IN DECLINE – WILL IT EVER RETURN?
Much to the dismay of area residents the OBT area began to decline very rapidly. In the 1980′s the area was home to many X-Rated Adult styled hotels,pornographic video sales, erotic dancer establishments and gay night clubs while becoming increasingly overrun with Prostitutes. With the prostitutes in the OBT area also came drugs and crime. Soon the area was falling into a major depression. Soon, homelessness and resulting robberies honed out of financial desperation became a major police issue as well. An issue that exists even today.
OBT Area Sees A Flash Of Remediation!
In the late 1990′s when the real estate market began to boom in the area suddenly there was a renewed interest in the area and a face lift began. The City of Orlando actually started to expand to the West side of the Interstate 4 and move ever closer to the OBT area as well as to the East in an effort to expand the area near UCF and the University of Central Florida. It truly looked like the area of OBT was finally going to see a ray of hope as new businesses, new building owners, revenue from permitting and development began to flow and people began to take a new and vibrant interest in the area. It was sadly to be very short lived.
THEN OBT CRASHES AGAIN
Then it happened. The real estate crash around 2006. The OBT area, just like always seemed to take the largest hit of all. Throwing it right back into the pit of depression. This left only small pockets of semi strong communities in areas such as near Altamonte Springs area and near UCF , near Disney World and downtown Orlando as potential market survivors. Again, abandoning the OBT area and sending it crashing down into abandonment again.
Help For OBT Comes From OBT
So what is a business owner or building owner to do? Many of us, have hunkered down to weather and ride out the storm. It is these business owners and residents who seem to stick it out no matter what happens that we wish to support. OBT HELP HERE