Universal Orlando Resort recently spoke out against a $250 million lawsuit filed against them.
Universal Orlando is home to two world-class theme parks in Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, as well as a water park in Universal’s Volcano Bay. Guests visiting the Resort can enjoy many thrilling attractions, including the all-new Jurassic World VelociCoaster, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, E.T. Adventure Ride, MEN IN BLACK: Alien Attack, Jurassic Park River Adventure, and, of course, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
The biggest construction projection at Universal currently, however, is happening several miles away from the current slate of Universal Parks at the Epic Universe.
The Epic Universe was announced back in 2019 and is now set to be completed in 2025. While Universal Orlando ran into construction delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems this isn’t the only hurdle the company is having to deal with.
In a lawsuit filed this past spring that we reported on, Fourth Watch Acquisitions, a Georgia real estate entertainment development company, revealed it is suing Universal and Universal City Property Management for more than $250 million in alleged damages.
Fourth Watch Acquisitions says it was under contract to buy 135 acres for $125 million from Universal City Property Management, or UCPM. An agreement was made in September 2017 and the closing was set for early May 2018. However, that never happened.
UCPM sold the land to Universal Orlando in April 2017, just weeks before the deal with Fourth Watch Acquisitions was supposed to be finalized.
Fourth Watch says it had planned to get into the theme park business but was cut out of the deal. The lawsuit alleges the nature of the deal could allow Universal to “also eliminate a competitive threat in the theme park industry”
“By acquiring the Land, Universal could link large swaths of previous unconnected land it owned into a contiguous tract suitable for a large-scale entertainment property development,” the Fourth Watch lawsuit said.
Now, according to reports from Florida Politics, Universal is speaking out against the lawsuit.
“There was no claim from Fourth Watch of having a contractual right to the property being purchased,” Universal said when it acquired the land, according to court documents. “The development of a theme park was also highly speculative because Fourth Watch would be required to obtain approval from Orange County.”
UCPM also spoke out against the lawsuit, claiming that the real-estate group never had the funds required to close the transaction.
“Fourth Watch lacked the funds and ability to ever obtain the funds required to close the Transaction, and Fourth Watch was well aware of this inability at that time,” UCPM said in its lawsuit filed in June.
The lawsuit is scheduled for trial in December 2023 and mediation is set to begin no later than September 1, 2023.
Inside the Magic will continue to update you on this Epic Universe lawsuit.