Internal demo starts on ex-police HQ in Downtown Orlando, full tear-down in July

Bob Moser

Internal demolition is underway on the former Orlando Police Department headquarters in Downtown Orlando, with full tear-down of the building to start around July 5 to make way for the 8.4-acre Orlando Magic Entertainment Complex, an official with the Orlando Magic told GrowthSpotter

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

The ownership began a 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. 

That demo permit from last year encompasses the police station as well. Police department staff had fully vacated the building in May, relocated to a new 94,000-square-foot headquarters on Orange Blossom Trail a few blocks to the west.

Pece of Mind began limited asbestos removal from the building in early May, and is now gutting the building of its drywall, furniture and other non-recyclables.

That will leave a concrete-and-steel shell of a building that Pece of Mind is scheduled to start tearing down the week of July 5, Magic spokesman Joel Glass, spokesman said on Friday. A small hole on the building's exterior wall was visible this week on the northern side. 

The demolition and recycling contractor has ultra high-reach excavator equipment that can reach the top of the nine-story building, with a scissor-like hand at the end that weighs more than 8,000 pounds and can cut through concrete and steel rebar. 

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. 

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

"We've begun construction on the new men's home and are on schedule to complete it before Thanksgiving, and hope to move in by then and have our annual Thanksgiving banquet at the new facility," he said. "We've finished demo of the front portion of (the former motel), have finished construction of walls for the new chapel and dining room, and are putting on roof structures now for those spaces and a new office." 

Magic spokesman Glass said the ownership still does not have a timeline to share for when it may begin redevelopment of the site.

The project was originally proposed in August 2014 to include a hotel, retail, office and residential space with new structured parking across two phases of construction. It was projected as a $200 million redevelopment at the time. 

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