Tuesday, February 2, 2016

PI Update: Hill Street Blues

Hill Street on Pleasure Island begins here at "the Hub", the intersection of the pathway that runs in front of Mannequins / Morimoto Asia with the main pathway that runs by The Boathouse where club Motion used to stand.
Hill Street is named for the uphill climb the pathway makes as it heads towards the West Side.  The hill allowed for the construction of offices and castmember cafeteria on the lower level below it.  Renovations to the Island kept this feature.  So let's climb the hill!
PI Live Bar used to sit directly at the Hub.  It closed with all the club-closures in September, 2008 but reopened a few months later when Downtown Disney execs realized this important passageway between Marketplace and West Side had become a dead zone, especially at night.
Behind PI Live Bar was a trendy clothing store called Changing Attitudes which prior to the clubs closing had become Orlando Harley-Davidson.
Harley moved to the West Side in 2011 and was replaced with "pop-up" clothing store Apricot Lane in August of that year.
The Apricot Lane building was considered part of the Mannequins structure and in 2014 it was razed to make way for this narrow strip of stores to be built facing Hill Street.
With heavy construction taking place, Hill Street was closed with pedestrians needing to use the bypass causeway over the lake that went around this area.
On the right side of Hill Street, a large building was home to numerous stores over the years such as Avigator's Supply, DTV and pictured above, fast food restaurant Missing Link Sausage Company.
It was gutted and rebuilt twice prior to the clubs closing and eventually became Paradiso 37.
Back on the left side of Hill Street, the classic 70's/80's club 8TRAX!  There was no generation gap here; all ages knew the words to all the songs!
When demolition began, everyone thought it was coming down entirely!
But curiously, only the front section facing Hill Street was demolished.
To make room for a few more shops facing the hill.
Today the 8TRAX building is still there.  We know much of it houses kitchen and storage space for Morimoto but Island sources say that part of the former club remains unused directly behind the new shops!
Attached to 8TRAX was the building that housed Superstar Studios, where you could record a music video starring you.  It later became Curl by Sammy Duval.  It sat idle for years and was torn down in 2014. 
The Lombard Promenade came next and featured a switchback pathway down the hill. It was built by Meriweather Adam Pleasure for his wife's amusement following a trip to San Francisco where they discovered the equally curvy Lombard Street.
Across from the promenade, Adventurers Club!
Today AC is just a memory and a shell of its former self.  It is being used as the framework for The Edison Orlando which is coming here.
Back on the other side, Laffers Cantina also closed with all the clubs but reopened in 2009 to provide drinks for the West End Ultralounge concept that was opening here, something that became the Celebrate Tonight nightly party.  Upstairs used to house the tech booth for the West End Stage and later for Celebrate Tonight.
At the top of Hill Street, West End Plaza became Celebration Plaza for Celebrate Tonight and most recently became a roundhouse turntable for trains to turn around!  With continued construction on both sides of the plaza, we've not yet seen what this theming is going to do if anything.
This of course was home to Comedy Warehouse on the south side of the plaza!
What it looked like for Celebrate Tonight in 2009.
The north side of the plaza was home to BET Soundstage Club.  During the Hip Hop craze of the late 90's/early 00's, the club was packed and there were long lines to get in!
With BET finally demolished, it currently is a pile of dirt adjacent Adventurers Club.  Nothing will open here until 2017 at the earliest, nine years after BET closed!


DJMadManRay said...

Love the trip down ("Hill Street Blues") memory lane, thanks Bob!

KingBob said...

Yup, street of dreams. Previously.