Thursday, May 4, 2017

Downtown Update: Church Street Coming Alive!

Back in 2012 the Blog did an article entitled "Nightmare on Church Street" to talk about all the empty spaces along our city's most famous street. Things were pretty bleak back then but in the last year we've begun to see more spaces get filled. So it was time to return to Church Street and give you an update!
First of all, you may recall this ancient parking garage located on the corner of Church Street and Hughey Avenue, directly north of Amway Center.  It's been razed!
With the garage gone, we can view the just vacated Orlando PD building at the rear which too will be torn down soon. Plans show the Orlando Magic building a festival marketplace type of complex here with restaurants, bars and shops! Let's hope this happens!
After being vacant for more than 7 years, the former home of Bliss Ultra Lounge and Phineas Phoggs Balloon Works before that has finally been leased!
Taking its name from the mascot names of both of Orlando's professional soccer teams, Lion's Pride will be a combination bar and restaurant...for soccer fans presumably!
The space is still being renovated and it will be opening soon. Hopefully they'll have drink specials every time a train rolls by on the adjacent tracks!
Also next to the tracks, Ferg's Depot is in the original Church Street train station built in the late 1800's for the Atlantic Coast Line. It's a bar featuring acoustic singers and sometimes live bands.  It's been open about a year now.
Last week we reported on Irish Shannon's, a bar with live bands occasionally.  It opened in the space vacated by The Dubliner Irish Social House.  That spot had been vacant for more than a year. Nightclub Antigua used to be in this space.
We also reported last week on The Bakery Bar in the alley location that was formerly home of Rok Room.  It features craft cocktails that taste like your favorite bakery desserts!
Lastly, let's end this at the corner of Church Street and Orange Avenue where Orlando's first Wahlburgers opened about a year ago. It's in the SunTrust building on that corner.
But it may become necessary to rename that intersection the corner of Happy & Healthy. Walgreens is opening soon on the ground floor of the building on the opposite corner across Church Street.  In all my years in Orlando, I've never seen anything in there. Get out your red noses!


Anonymous said...

the reason downtown has picked back up?

Anonymous said...

and IT was not BECAUSE of Buddy Dyer

KingBob said...

Well Buddy Dyer's stadium initiative that brought us a greatly improved football stadium, the closer to the downtown core Amway Arena and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts have all brought a LOT more people downtown. There are many more people living downtown than 10 years ago too. The economy has continued to improve overall. Those are 3 reasons that jump out at me immediately.

That said, there are still plenty of empty spaces along Church Street and my article today did not mention those. But things are greatly improved compared to my visit 7 years prior.