MARION COUNTY, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - One of the most advanced, state-of-the-art sporting venues in North America is being built on 4-thousand acres in Marion County.
The World Equestrian Center, now under construction, will feature more than 400-thousand square feet of competition space along with a 5-star luxury hotel, seven restaurants and 100-thousand square feet of retail for shopping.
The hotel will feature 248 rooms, a spa and an outdoor cafe with seating for 500 overlooking a grand prix show ring. Another stadium nearby will feature seating for 8-thousand spectators. There are 21 riding arenas in total to showcase all kinds of sporting events.
The barns are Olympic in size and quality, 23 in total with more than 2-thousand king-sized stalls. Each barn will be climate controlled with security cameras and wi-fi available throughout the facility. The Marion County project taking cues from the Roberts family-owned WEC in Wilmington, Ohio.
Vinnie Card is the General Manager of the Ocala venue and during our exclusive walk through, he shared some key details about how the Roberts family is transforming their land here in Central Florida, into a local community landmark fit for the "Horse Capital of the World."
"Every horse stall will have its own fan, big ceiling fans through out. Each barn will be equipped with a/c and heat to keep horses and competitors comfortable year round," reveals Card.
Many of the barns will have direct, covered access to the four giant indoor arenas featuring 150-thousand square feet of competition space.
"These indoor arenas will be able to accomodate so many types of events from every breed and discipline of horse, to dog shows and car shows, to other sporting events throughout the year," says Card.
Other amenities include an on-site chapel for worship and weddings. A pet friendly RV park with a convenience store and a vet clinic for horses and pets.
"One of the most exciting things about this development is that we will be able to build our own community within the gates of the WEC, " says Card.
Custom homes with barns will be another key component to the Ocala property along with 25 miles of riding trails across the oak-lined property.
"No place in the world will be able to offer the experience we are going to be able to offer here in Marion County," says Card.
The World Equestrian Center in Ocala is scheduled to officially open to the public in January of 2021.