Disney, locked in a political battle with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, announced on Thursday that it was abandoning plans to build a nearly $900-million campus in the southeastern state.
The company, which recently embarked on a major cost-cutting exercise, is citing economic reasons as the main motivation.
“Given the considerable changes that have occurred since the announcement of this project, including new leadership and changing business conditions, we have decided not to move forward with construction of the campus,” Disney said in a memo to employees.
However, the decision comes against a backdrop of high tensions with local authorities.
Ron DeSantis, a rising star of the US hard right, ended the company’s special status in his state in February.
Disney retaliated by filing a lawsuit, accusing the Florida governor of “targeted retaliation” against the group for speaking out in 2022 against a bill that restricts the teaching of topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida’s elementary schools.
The company had announced plans in July 2021 to ask employees to relocate from California to a new campus in Florida, the cost of which, according to news reports, was estimated at the time at $864 million.
However, Disney has affirmed its commitment to future expansion.
"We have plans to invest $17 billion and create 13,000 jobs over the next ten years," the head of Disney's theme parks, Josh D’Amaro, said in Thursday's memo. "I hope we're able to do so."