The company announced that it will no longer move forward with the construction of a new Florida campus in a memo to its employees
Disney’s plan to bring new business to Florida is no more.
In a memo penned by Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney’s parks, experiences, and products division, obtained by CNBC, the company announced that it would no longer move forward with the construction of a new employee campus in Lake Nona, Florida, citing “changing business conditions.”
The outlet reports that D’Amaro told employees that the decision was not “not an easy decision to make” but “the right one.”
The decision comes amid a public battle between Disney and Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis. Also on Thursday, the company announced it would shut down its Galactic Starcruiser hotel at the Orlando resort just 15 months after the massive project opened.
In a statement to The New York Times, Jerry L. Demings, mayor of Orange County, which includes the Lake Nona area, said: “These are the consequences when there isn’t an inclusive and collaborative work environment between the state of Florida and the business community.”
While D’Amaro also is reported to have said in his memo that the company plans to invest $17 billion in Florida over the next ten years, which would bring 13,000 jobs during the period, the cancellation of the Lake Nona project stops the immediate creation of 2,000 new jobs to the state of Florida.
While the company did not directly mention DeSantis by name in their memo, a spokesman for the politician spoke out about the announcement in a statement to The New York Times.
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“Disney announced the possibility of a Lake Nona campus nearly two years ago,” the statement reads. “Nothing ever came of the project, and the state was unsure whether it would come to fruition. Given the company’s financial straits, falling market cap, and declining stock price, it is unsurprising that they would restructure their business operations and cancel unsuccessful ventures.”
Most recently, the company opposed the creation of a state measure that opponents have denounced as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, which restricts classroom discussion around gender identity and sexual orientation.
Weeks after Disney issued a statement saying the bill “should never have passed and should never have been signed into law,” DeSantis began publicly rebuking Disney and asking state lawmakers to consider ending deals that allowed the company to operate a special governing district, which decides what gets built and runs the municipal-like services in the theme park areas, according to the Associated Press.
State lawmakers voted in favor of stripping the company of its control of the district, and DeSantis signed the measure into law in February. But Disney appeared to outmaneuver the governor when it quietly took back control of the district that same month.
Disney recently sued DeSantis, alleging retaliation — but the damage has gone beyond the legal world, with the continued fight with the company leading high-profile Republicans to distance themselves from the man who was seen as a of a frontrunner in a potential matchup with Trump.