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Enzian Theater pursues new permit for expansion, cost rebid & fundraising ahead

Enzian Theater pursues new permit for expansion, cost rebid & fundraising ahead
Plans to add two new theaters to the popular Enzian Theater in Maitland have hit snags, as neighbors have complained about parking and traffic concerns in the area. Photographed December 2017. (Jacob Langston / Orlando Sentinel)

The Enzian Theater in Maitland took a new step in its permitting process this month toward a long-anticipated expansion, but will need to rebid its construction costs and raise nearly $2 million more in donations later this year.

Located at 1300 S. Orlando Ave., the 3-acre property currently has the two-story, 7,664-square-foot Enzian with a single 210-seat theater and 80-seat Eden Bar.

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The alternative cinema was founded in 1985 by the Tiedtke family, regularly hosts the annual Florida Film Festival, and screens mostly independent and foreign films.

With plans to expand dating back to 2015, the Enzian would add another 15,000 square feet to the building. It would reduce the existing theater by 20 seats but add two more theater screens (50 seats and 80 seats), expand an existing outdoor patio, and add a new lobby with first-floor kitchen, concessions and restrooms. New surface parking and an off-site valet parking plan are included.

Approval of the plans have languished in a cycle of review by the City of Maitland.

Some residents of nearby subdivisions rallied to oppose the Enzian expansion at a Maitland Planning and Zoning Commission meeting in December. They feared added seating would bring more traffic and overflow parking to their residential streets.

The theater's management now filed revised construction plans last week with the St. Johns River Water Management District.

As for the city, Enzian is "in the process of working with the City of Maitland to obtain a permit for construction," with scheduled public hearings ahead and optimism for approval by the fall, Executive Director David Schillhammer told GrowthSpotter.

The original $6.5 million construction cost estimate must also be rebid by general contractor H.J. High Construction to its suppliers after city permits are approved, which would set the bar for a final fundraising round.

The Enzian has raised $5 million in charitable contributions to date. Management won't be seeking a construction loan, said Schillhammer, who believes a construction permit will provide the momentum needed for fundraising.

"We believe we have supporters of this vision who are waiting for us to have the final permit in hand," he said. "What that timeline is to raise the entire amount and start the work, I can't project."

Kimley-Horn is civil engineer on the project, Anthony Lapore is the architect, and Hal Kantor of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, PA has provided legal counsel.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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