Owners of a half-vacant retail building near Orlando City Soccer Club's new stadium in Parramore are proposing a historic renovation for a new bar and restaurant, the first phase of what may be multiple property redevelopments they'd pursue in the immediate area.
Located at 532 W. Church St., the 6,055-square-foot building is half-occupied now by Styles of Life II barbershop. In Spring 2016, owners of pizza chain Pi Pizzeria were preparing to lease the other half, but capitalization issues killed that project.
Owners Casey Preston and Timothy Green formed T&C Downtown Development LLC earlier this year, and paid $1 million for the 0.22-acre property in March. Green leads Orlando-based Green Tree Development.
Their new restaurant concept, dubbed "The District Gastro Bar/Social Eating House," carries with it a goal of celebrating Parramore's history with the neighborhood's present-day spirit.
Built in 1922 and part of the Holden-Parramore National Register Historic District, the owners are asking for permission to renovate the building's facade to remove old paint and expose the original brick. They would restore the existing canopy to its original design, add new storefront entries to the tenant spaces, and propose a hand-painted exterior mural.
To double the size of the existing space they also want to add a pre-engineered metal building to the rear of the building to house a new kitchen, restrooms and some extra interior seats. The barbershop will remain as a tenant.
Hired to lead the project is Patrick Fore, former vice president of real estate, construction and development at Tijuana Flats Tex Mex, and now co-founder of ForeWith Strategic Growth Consultants.
The concept's first step toward approval comes Thursday, when it goes before Orlando's Appearance Review Board.
"We're just getting our ducks in a row now, and what we're looking for is the green light from ARB," Fore told GrowthSpotter on Wednesday. "We've met with contractors over the past six weeks, and would go next into construction documents."
Key to their proposal is the request to add a pass-thru bar and outdoor dining area to the east of the building on land owned by the Downtown CRA, and to add parking and a dumpster enclosure to the west of the building on land owned by the city.
Vehicle access to the proposed west-side parking is from a Church Street driveway cut on another parcel owned by the Royal Palm Elks Lodge.
The applicant is working with the city's Real Estate Department on a license agreement for use of the CRA and city parcels, and is securing an access agreement with the Elks Lodge.
City staff are recommending ARB approve the project, recognizing that investment and preservation of historic buildings is significant, and these projects are more complex because older parcels typically don't meet current code or engineering standards.
This parcel at 532 W. Church is no exception, staff wrote in their report. The front, east and west walls of the building are also their property lines, meaning the property is landlocked with no driveway cut or vehicle access.
So access through an adjacent property is needed. The building is in the Downtown Parking Area which has no parking requirements, but having some parking available will be key to a restaurant's success.
Early estimates on total investment for the restaurant's buildout is between $1 million and $2 million, said Fore, with a broad target of 2018 for opening.
The restaurant's menu is still being developed, but its theme will be that of an "Americana gastropub" with a full-service bar, he added.
This may be the first of multiple redevelopment projects by Green and Preston's T&C Development in that immediate area of Parramore near the soccer stadium, said Fore, who declined further comment on the partners' long-term vision.
The majority of property immediately surrounding the 532 W. Church St. building on its block and to the south is owned by the city, Orlando's CRA or the Shiloh Baptist Church.