Church Street Station (Orlando)

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Church Street Station
SunRail station
Orlando Railroad Depot05.jpg
The Old Orlando Railroad Depot built in 1889 still stands alongside the SunRail route
Station statistics
Address 4 Depot Place and West Church Street
Orlando, Florida
Line(s)

SunRail:

Planned 2013
Platforms 2
Tracks 2
Other information
Opened 1889[1]
Rebuilt 2013 Planned
Services
Preceding station   SunRail   Following station
SunRail
Phase 1 (2014)
toward DeBary
toward Poinciana
SunRail
Phase 2 (2016)
toward DeLand
Old Orlando Railroad Depot
Church Street Station (Orlando) is located in Florida
Church Street Station (Orlando)
Location Orlando, Florida, USA
Coordinates 28°32′24″N 81°22′50″W / 28.54000°N 81.38056°W / 28.54000; -81.38056Coordinates: 28°32′24″N 81°22′50″W / 28.54000°N 81.38056°W / 28.54000; -81.38056
Built 1889[1]
Architect T. B. Cotter[2]
Architectural style Eclectic Victorian,[1] Shingle Style[2]
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 76000604[2]
Added to NRHP April 22, 1976

Church Street Station, also called the Old Orlando Railroad Depot is a historic U.S. depot in Orlando, Florida. It is located at Depot Place and West Church Street. It is also a commercial entertainment development in downtown Orlando, Florida spanning both sides of the tracks. The site was formerly used by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad for their Orlando station. Amtrak now stops about a mile (1.6 km) south of downtown (see Orlando (Amtrak station)).

In 2013, a 20-year lease with an option to purchase the station was entered into by St. Petersburg, Florida based businessman Mark Ferguson (businessman). A restaurant and bar called Ferg's is planned for the 15,000 square foot space.[3]

Station[edit]

Atlantic Coast Line Railroad[edit]

The Depot, as it appeared circa 1910.

The station was originally built by the South Florida Railroad in 1889 (although some sources say it was built in 1890) to serve Orlando. The South Florida Railroad was bought out the Plant System in 1893, which in turn was taken over by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1902. The station also served the Tavares, Orlando and Atlantic Railroad and the Orlando and Winter Park Railway. In 1926 passenger operations were transferred to Orlando Health/Amtrak station. The Church Street depot still survives to this day on the National Register of Historic Places.[2]

SunRail[edit]

The SunRail commuter rail project will be using the historic Church Street Rail Depot as one of three stops in downtown Orlando[4]. A new platform on the same side of the tracks is being built down the block from the Church Streets Station, within walking distance of Orlando City Hall. The station, one of two located in the central business district, will provide easy access to the planned Performing Arts Center, Hotel development within the same block, the Citrus Bowl and the new Amway Center, home to the Orlando Magic NBA team[5]

Night club complex[edit]

Based on the Rosie O'Grady's/Seville Quarter complex opened in Pensacola, Florida in the late 1960s by entrepreneur Bob Snow, Rosie O'Gradys/Church Street Station in Orlando saw great popular success in the 1970s and 1980s as it operated as an attraction offering admission to multiple nightclubs of various formats) facilitating "club hopping" for a single price in a monolithic location. It spanned both sides of Church Street and both sides of the railroad tracks.[6] Walt Disney World emulated the successful formula, opening its own Pleasure Island club district amidst Church Street Station's peak years of success, as did Universal Studios Orlando with its "City Walk" complex. The attraction's developer proceeded to develop a similar venue in Las Vegas, "Main Street Station" that at inception shared many club concepts with the Orlando facility.

As an attraction, Church Street Station eventually experienced a steep decline in attendance and had largely closed as a club-hop by the end of the 1990s.[7]

Several attempts have been made by multiple owners to re-create the success of the mid-1980s. Today there is a relatively new improv venue in what used to be a restaurant. The area immediately around the station is slated to become downtown apartments.

With foreclosures and serial disappointments duplicating the successes of the past, the future of the development remains questionable. A source of probable stimulus will likely occur with the new Amway Center. Across Interstate 4, Orlando's new entertainment arena has been constructed on Church Street, within close walking distance of Church Street Station. The arena, home to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, opened to the public on Oct. 1 2010.[8] Nearby businesses anticipate a boost in traffic as arena customers hit the streets before and after events.

In addition, SunRail plans to revive the station as a commuter rail stop.[9]

The former Rosie O’ Grady’s Good Time Emporium restaurant and entertainment venue — sold in June 2010 for $2.2 million to downtown commercial property owners Frank Hamby and Margaret Casscells. The new owners are transforming the 14,335-square-foot (1,331.8 m2) building into the New Orleans-style MoJo Bar & Grill.

Timeline[edit]

  • 1972: Entrepreneur Bob Snow announces plan for a downtown Orlando entertainment complex.
  • 1974: Snow opens Rosie O'Grady's.[10]
  • 1976: The station is added to the National Register of Historic Places
  • 1982: Cheyenne Saloon & Opera House opens.
  • 1985: Church Street Station draws 1.7 million visitors, making it the fourth-largest tourist attraction in the state after Walt Disney World, Sea World and Busch Gardens.
  • 1988: Snow sells 50 percent interest in Church Street Station.
  • 1989: Snow sells remainder of his interest to a subsidiary of Baltimore Gas & Electric Co.; total cost of the two-step deal: $61 million to $82 million.
  • 1994: Church Street Station completes major expansion with a 24,000-square-foot (2,200 m2) Presidential Ballroom for $5.5 million.
  • 1998: Church Street Station loses $1 million on revenue of $20.85 million, attracts only 550,000 visitors.
  • 1999: Baltimore Gas & Electric sells Church Street Station to Enic PLC, a British firm, for $11.5 million.
  • 2001: Enic PLC sells Church Street Station to F.F. South & Co. for $15.9 million
  • 2002: Lou Pearlman buys into Church Street Station, later becomes majority owner.
  • 2007: Pearlman's financial troubles trigger foreclosure lawsuit against Church Street Station.[1][dead link]
  • 2007: Cameron Kuhn (Developer) purchased church street station at bankruptcy court auction due to financial issues of former owner Lou Pearlman Trans Continental Empire. The property was purchased by Kuhn for $34.1 million.
  • 2008: Church Street Station retail opens including The Cheyenne Saloon by Bob Snow, Bliss Ultra Night Club, Brick and Fire Pizza and Wine Company, Ceviche Tapas Restaurant and Bar, The Dessert Lady and Hamburger Mary's.
  • 2008: Lender Tremont Net Funding LLC file to foreclose on the property while Mr. Kuhn tries to retain control & negotiate the re-sell of the complex.
  • 2010: Historic Church Street Station RR FRISCO 0-6-0 Switcher #3749 Locomotive which has been on display for many years at the station was put up for sale.[2]
  • 2010: The Amway Center arena opened on West Church Street and is already bringing an influx of business to Church Street vendors and establishments. In the long term the new arena is expected to at least stimulate partial revitalization to the complex.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Old Orlando Railroad Depot". Florida Heritage Tourism Interactive Catalog. Florida's Office of Cultural and Historical Programs. 2007-02-23. 
  2. ^ a b c d "National Register of Historical Places - Florida (FL), Orange County". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-02-23. 
  3. ^ Florida Trend magazine October 2013 page 94
  4. ^ http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/blog/2014/04/a-virtual-ride-to-3-downtown-sunrail-stops.html
  5. ^ Church Street Station (SunRail)
  6. ^ Church Street Station (Orlando Memory)
  7. ^ Church Street Station (Orlando Memory)
  8. ^ "MAGIC: Events Center". Orlando Magic. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  9. ^ Church Street Station (SunRail)
  10. ^ Church Street Station (Orlando Memory)

External links[edit]