Downtown Orlando Developments

Summa Development Group adds world-renowned architect to design new museum space in downtown tower

This rendering depicts a second location for Orlando Museum of Art in a new tower being built by Summa Development Group at Church, Pine and Lake streets.

Summa Development Group has added world-renowned architecture firm Pelli Clarke Pelli, winner of last year’s American Architecture Award, to its design team to incorporate the downtown location of Orlando Museum of Art in its new skyscraper.

OMA announced on Monday it would pursue the downtown expansion, which would find a second OMA anchoring the ground floor of SDG’s forthcoming 33-story modern glass tower at 319 E. Church St.


SDG Principal Albert Socol told GrowthSpotter the museum space will be added to the planned tower, which also will contain the central business district’s first 5-star hotel and convention center, restaurants and 129 branded residences – a combination of 102 condominiums and 27 penthouse units spread among the 14 upper floors.

SDG, which previously completed 24-story CitiTower apartment building at 101 Lake Ave., has already received master plan approval from the city for the new project. Socol said Pelli Clarke Pelli is working on new drawings for the project and expects to submit them in about 45 days.


Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the museum announcement is one of many exciting things happening downtown. “I’m aware that the museum and the developer have been talking for a little while so that could end up being a fantastic partnership.”

Steve Cavanaugh of DLR Group created the initial tower design that was presented last August to the city’s Appearance Review Board for a courtesy review.

Socol, himself a registered architect, said he would personally oversee every detail of the new tower, which required a height clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration. “I’m going to be in control of this project, and it’s going to be done right,” he told the ARB. “The proof is across the street.”

Pelli Clarke Pelli has extensive experience designing award-winning skyscrapers and museums. The firm won an international competition to design the Chengdu Museum of Natural History. The firm also designed the tallest building in San Francisco: Salesforce Tower received The American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.

Thomas Chatmon, executive director of Orlando’s Downtown Development Board, said Socol and his wife and partner, Marlene Weiss, have the city’s full confidence based on their track record at CitiTower.

“They do a wonderful job,” Chatmon said. “This mixture of uses will be at the very apex of the pinnacle of downtown.”

Chatmon believes the addition of the art museum should generate demand for the first condos to be built in the CBD for over a decade.

“Absolutely. To have a cultural amenity of the caliber of Orlando Museum of Art will add to the allure and ambiance of the center,” he said. “It should be a desirable location, and I think a lot of people will want to call it home.”


Weiss previously told GrowthSpotter they estimate a 36-month construction period.

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