As a private company now owned by Golden Gate Capital, Red Lobster Seafood Co. will establish its new restaurant support center and headquarters in 91,226 square feet of space at CNL Tower I in downtown Orlando. This is the most significant lease transaction to occur in Orlando's central business district since the Great Recession.

The move, which is expected to be complete by early 2015, will locate more than 300 jobs in downtown Orlando. Red Lobster plans to hire an additional 70 employees during the next two years. Red Lobster will be one of downtown Orlando's biggest employers, along with CNL Financial Group, the Orlando Utilities Commission, the Orlando Magic, Wells Fargo, and the city of Orlando.

"Red Lobster has deep roots in Central Florida, and we are committed to remaining part of this dynamic, vibrant community," says Kim Lopdrup, CEO of Red Lobster. "The CNL building in downtown Orlando is the perfect place to begin this next chapter in our history because it allows Red Lobster to be at the heart of a growing business area and provides employees with access to the best parts of the city."

Red Lobster will occupy three full floors of CNL Tower I, as well as have a custom-built, state-of-the-art culinary development center on the ground floor.

"Having an Orlando-based company's headquarters moving to downtown is a tremendous validation of all the work that has gone into making the heart of Orlando more attractive for businesses and residents. We are delighted that our buildings have played a part of that revitalization," says Paul Ellis, group president of CNL Commercial Real Estate. "I anticipate that we will see additional companies looking at downtown Orlando in the coming months given the growing amenity base and the increased transportation options like SunRail. We are excited to welcome Red Lobster and its employees both to CNL Center I and to downtown Orlando."

Alex Rosario and Paul Reynolds from CNL Commercial Real Estate represented CNL and Sean McConnell from McConnell Capital represented Red Lobster in the transaction.

"Downtown is seeing more activity than ever before. With the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts nearing completion, Creative Village gaining momentum and the excitement around the future Orlando City soccer stadium, there is a growing buzz about downtown, which is translating to increased business interest," says Reynolds.

Casual Dining, Chain Restaurants, Industry News, Restaurant Design, Red Lobster