Orlando Placemaking: Adaptive reuse as “building owners weigh preservation vs demolition”

Orlando Placemaking: Adaptive reuse as “building owners weigh preservation vs demolition”

Photo: Richard Ramirez Buxeda, Orlando Sentinel

“Church Street Exchange, Grand Avenue Elementary and the former home of the Orlando Ballet are the latest Orlando landmarks to face the prospect of new identities instead of demolition.

The fate of those buildings comes into play as some developers and owners are looking at ‘adaptive reuse,’a movement gaining momentum nationally.

‘I think people are finally realizing that these kind of place-making buildings, you really can’t re-create,’said Richard Forbes, historic preservation officer for Orlando.

Sitting atop some of the most valuable land in Central Florida, the Church Street Exchange in downtown Orlando was recently listed for sale. Grand Avenue Elementary southwest of downtown sits vacant with school officials discussing its fate. And the Orlando Utilities Commission has started weighing options to sell or renovate an Italian Palazzo Revival-style 1920s power plant and one-time arts center overlooking Lake Ivanhoe…

Beyond preserving the charm and character of a building, reused buildings help ignite nearby neighborhoods, said Orlando attorney Kimberly Ashby. She pointed to the former Orange County Courthouse’s renovation as a history museum and the relocation of the Casa Feliz and Capen houses to become cultural venues in Winter Park.

‘It not only repurposes the building, it repurposes the neighborhood and the whole community,’she said.”


Photo: Orange County Regional History Center

“The First National Bank building (left) was designed by Orlando architect Howard M. Reynolds during the Great Depression. In 2017, a Walgreens store moved into the four-story building that once housed the downtown bank….”

–Mary Shanklin, Orlando Sentinel

Read entire article