Ivanhoe Village Development & Theatre Downtown
Recently, Orlando Weekly reported about a proposed development project for Ivanhoe Village. Chance Gordy, a local developer, has expressed interest in buying up multiple warehouse buildings in the neighborhood and he’s hoping to replace them with a world-class mixed-use development featuring green space, restaurants, retail and apartments. The project will certainly alter the character of the little neighborhood just north of downtown, and residents immediately expressed concern that the businesses at the heart of the thriving economy in that area – mostly creative businesses, including the Venue and Steadfast Brands clothing, to name just a couple – will be displaced.
Gordy has been meeting with neighborhood stakeholders to talk about making spaces within the new development to accommodate the arts and creative enterprises that have made Ivanhoe such a sought-after place to be. However ever, his renderings for the project are far from what residents hoped for — nine-story story tall condo buildings that look more like downtown condos than unique, Ivanhoe structures.
Meanwhile, let’s look at how Florida Hospital is handling development right up the street – recently, the hospital decided it was time to make use of several properties it owns along Orange Avenue. One of those properties is the building that Theatre Downtown has called home for the past 25 years – though the theater has a long-term lease on the building, the hospital decided to exercise its right to terminate it early. It gave the little theater until the beginning of 2015 to finish up its last season, pack up and move out. Its owners, Frank and Fran Hilgenberg, had hoped to negotiate – perhaps they could get more time, or be included in the hospital’s plans for the building. Their efforts weren’t completely futile – they were given a one-month extension. But that’s it – at the end of January, it’s curtains for the space they have invested so much time, money and effort in.
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