As Orlando continued to structure its $1 billion finance plan last week to build three new entertainment venues, a well-known hotelier announced that he would not pursue a petition drive to make the city get voter approval before spending public funds on at least one of the venues. Harris Rosen, owner of the Shingle Creek Resort and convention center, was running out of time and falling short of the required 30,000 voters’ signatures he needed to put the referendum on the ballot. He wanted voters to approve funding for a new events center that primarily would be used as an arena for the National Basketball Association’s Orlando Magic.The city last week authorized the sale of $340 million of tourist development tax revenue bonds, representing the major portion of the arena’s funding for the Orlando Magic.The City Council last week also reauthorized a $35 million sales tax revenue bond giving officials the flexibility to choose insurers. The bond issue was going to be insured by Ambac Assurance Corp. until questions arose about the carrier’s own ratings due to its portfolio of subprime mortgages. The $35 million deal is part of the arena financing.Orlando hopes to sell the bonds before the end of the year but is still putting together the necessary parcels of land.
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