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Demolition of police HQ next to Amway Center may wait till Fall w/men's shelter

Outlined in blue is the 8.4-acre block planned for redevelopment as the Orlando Magic Entertainment Complex, bounded by W. Central Boulevard, N. Hughey Avenue and W. Church Street. The old Orlando Police Headquarters faces Hughey Avenue.
Outlined in blue is the 8.4-acre block planned for redevelopment as the Orlando Magic Entertainment Complex, bounded by W. Central Boulevard, N. Hughey Avenue and W. Church Street. The old Orlando Police Headquarters faces Hughey Avenue. (Orange County Property Appraiser / staff edit)

The Orlando Police Department is expected to fully vacate its old headquarters in Downtown Orlando in May, but demolition of the building to make way for the 8.4-acre Orlando Magic Entertainment Complex may not start until late Fall, when the neighboring men's shelter is also vacant.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Monday with city officials for the new 94,000-square-foot police department headquarters on Orange Blossom Trail, a few blocks to the west of Amway Center and the 44-year-old current police headquarters along Hughey Avenue.

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That building, the site of a former parking garage and the Orlando Union Rescue Mission (OURM) men's shelter make up the 8.4-acre city block north of Amway Center that the Orlando Magic has acquired for redevelopment, bordered by W. Central Boulevard, S. Hughey Avenue and W. Church Street.

Insight on how much the Orlando Magic ultimately paid to relocate a men's shelter from the footprint of its future downtown entertainment complex.

The Orlando Magic began the first phase of demolition on the block back in July 2016, when Balfour Beatty Construction as general contractor and Orlando's Pece of Mind conducted demolition and on-site crush of the former parking garage that faced the arena.

Both of those contractors will continue on for Phase 2 demolition.

Joel Glass, spokesman for the Orlando Magic, said the club is still finalizing its designs for the entertainment complex, and has no timetable for when demolition of the remaining buildings on the site will occur. He confirmed the police headquarters would be vacant by late May.

OURM sold its men's shelter property under the Magic's footprint in early January, swapping that site with the club for the shuttered Parkwood Inn hotel on W. Colonial Drive that will be renovated as a new, larger home for the shelter, first reported here on Dec. 8.

OURM also signed a lease with the Magic's land owner affiliate to remain in its current men's shelter until renovation and new construction is complete at the hotel.

Learn how long demo should take for the garage, who was hired for the job, and when tear-down could start on the neighboring police headquarters.

A move to the new shelter location remains on pace for late October, OURM president Fred B. Clayton told GrowthSpotter on Wednesday.

"We have begun the demolition of the façade and front portion of the former Parkwood Inn on West Colonial Drive and will start soon the construction of the new chapel, kitchen and dining facility, and office for the new campus," he said. "Once that construction is underway, we will begin renovation of the guest rooms at the motel."

"We are grateful for and excited by the initiation of the project, and we appreciate enormously the assistance and generosity of the Orlando Magic," Clayton continued. "I especially want to commend and celebrate Baker Barrios Architects. Tim Baker and Mike Houseman have donated their time to the design and planning of the new facility, and they recruited engineering firms that have done the same. The value of the Baker Barrios team's efforts is about $250,000, and they have provided those services to the Mission for free."

Pece of Mind would conduct selective demolition on the Magic's entertainment complex property, to protect neighboring buildings and vehicles.

But from a project liability and cost standpoint, it would be favorable to hold demolition of the old police headquarters until the neighboring men's shelter is also ready for tear-down, to avoid potential safety issues and allow continuation of the process across the entire block, according to local contractors polled on Wednesday that are not involved in the project.

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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