Boom times in Downtown Orlando
Many cities have struggled with the revitalization of their urban cores. Orlando isn't one of them. A sleepy central business district twenty years ago continues its radical transformation into an up and coming vibrant pedestrian friendly destination. Much of this success is due to the concept of clustering, complementing development together within a compact pedestrian scale setting. For sunbelt cities struggling to understand that concept, here's a collection of mid-week evening photographs illustrating what it looks like visually.
- Cranes line the site of a $238 million expansion of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts along South Street between Orange and Rosalind avenues.
12. The Intersection of Orange Avenue and Church Street.
13. Looking south down Orange Avenue.
14. The CenterState Bank Tower is an example of retrofitting an existing office building to be a pedestrian centric activity center at ground level. Built in 1983, the 16-story building is in the process of being renovated with a new lobby and restaurants, including a poké bowl eatery and coffeeshop, along Orange Avenue.
15. Church Street Station is a collection of historic buildings that was retrofitted into a retail and entertainment complex during the 1970s that declined by the 1990s similar to many festival marketplaces across the country during that era. St. Petersburg businessman Mark Ferguson signed a 20-year lease with an option to purchase in hopes of turning the property around in 2013.
16. Looking west down Church Street towards Church Street Station from Orange Avenue.
17. Driving west down Pine Street towards Orange Avenue in the Downtown Historic District. The Downtown Historic District was designated in 1980 as the City’s first local historic district. The district is a cohesive collection of buildings that reflects the commercial and governmental history of Orlando. It encompasses eight square blocks of approximately 80 buildings constructed from the 1880s until the early 1940s. Straddling Orange Avenue and interspersed among modern highrises, the historic buildings of this district offer a window to the city’s dynamic past and set the sense-of-place for the core of Downtown Orlando.
18. Modera Central is a recently completed highrise apartment project in the heart of the city.
19. Interstate 4 morning rush hour with the construction of Church Street Plaza in the background
20. The 28-story Church Street Plaza is a contemporary mixed-use office tower under construction near SunRail’s Church Street commuter rail station. The urban transit oriented development will include +200,000 square feet of office space, a 180 room hotel, 605-space integrated parking garage and restaurant space when completed. A surface parking lot was sacrificed for its development.
Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at email@example.com