In 2015, KPMG began searching for a location for its new global learning, development and innovation facility. KPMG was seeking a location to foster an interactive, innovative and collaborative environment for employee training, while also serving as a place for employee recruitment, retention and engagement.
As a company who conducts site selection analysis for other organizations, KPMG experts led the search for their new global training facility. KMPG was looking for a place that aligned with their vision and provided the aesthetic that they needed for a cutting-edge facility. As KPMG’s largest capital investment ever, it was imperative for KPMG to find a location that fit a long list of important criteria, including the right culture, business climate, community partnerships, incentives, transportation and more.
KPMG initially started with 49 potential cities before shortlisting to nine. These cities included major players such as Chicago and Atlanta. In the final decision, Orlando was selected over Dallas, Texas.
The Orlando Economic Partnership (the Partnership) hosted the company on more than ten trips to the Orlando market. During these trips, the Partnership connected KPMG with representatives from the City of Orlando, Orlando Utilities Commission, Duke Energy, the Orlando International Airport and Visit Orlando.
The Partnership facilitated a tour of JetBlue University, based in Orlando, so KPMG executives could see another firm that fosters team and culture building through its training facility. They also connected KPMG with United States Tennis Association (USTA), which had just announced Lake Nona as the home of American tennis.
The Partnership provided important data on the simulation and training industry to aid KPMG in its decision. It also played a significant role in the incentives negotiation and facilitating tax strategies for the project.
The Orlando International Airport’s non-stop direct flights to 90 percent of KPMG office locations proved to be a huge deciding factor in KPMG’s search. In addition, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA)’s willingness and commitment at the highest levels to partners with KPMG made a huge difference in distinguishing Orlando from other cities.
Orlando met and exceeded KPMG’s criteria for their largest capital investment project ever. First, KPMG was very impressed with the Lake Nona property because of its shared vision of “inspiring human performance,” as well as its immediate proximity to Orlando International Airport. In fact, Lake Nona is one of the few private properties in the country situated so close to an international airport.
In January of 2017, KPMG announced plans to build its global training facility, the KPMG “Lakehouse” in Lake Nona. The facility broke ground in May 2017 and opened its doors in January 2019. It is the largest capital investment project the Partnership has established in the past 10 years. The project will result in 80 high-wage jobs with KPMG and capital investment of $430 million. The project contracts an additional 250 people to operate the facility.
The KPMG Lakehouse features 800 single-occupancy guest rooms, 90 learning and innovation spaces, a 1,000-seat assembly hall and an “Ignition Center.” The facility generates over one hundred thousand room nights, exposing thousands of KPMG executives and team members to Orlando annually and generating millions of dollars in economic impact.
The site that KMPG selected, Lake Nona, is a 17-square-mile master-designed community focused on sustainable design, healthy living, and groundbreaking gigabit fiber optic technology. As one of the first gigabit communities in the nation, Lake Nona has also been named by Cisco as one of only nine Iconic Smart + Connected communities in the world. Learn more about Lake Nona, owned by the Tavistock Group, as a business location here.
Partnerships and Collaboration
Partnerships were an important deciding factor for KMPG and the KPMG team was impressed by the collaboration and commitment from so many organizations in the community. The Orlando Economic Partnership collaborated with CareerSource Central Florida, City of Orlando, Enterprise Florida, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA), Orange County, Orlando Utilities Commission, the state of Florida, Tavistock Group and Visit Florida on this project.
Collaboration for the initiative was key. The opportunity to team with other organizations was really important to us, and the ease of travel. It is because of that relationship that we chose to build the KPMG Learning Development and Innovation Center right here in the Lake Nona community.Lynn Doughtie, Chairman and CEO at KPMG