Church Street StationEdit profile
Orlando (ACL station) redirects here. For the post-1926 ACL Orlando station, see Orlando (Amtrak station).
Church Street Station is a planned station on the planned SunRail commuter rail system and is also a commercial entertainment development in downtown Orlando, Florida spanning both sides of the tracks. The site was formerly used by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad for their Orlando station. Amtrak now stops about a mile (1.6 km) south of downtown (see Orlando (Amtrak station)).
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad
The station was originally built by the South Florida Railroad in 1889 to serve Orlando. The South Florida Railroad was bought out the Plant System in 1893, which in turn was taken over by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1902. The station also served the Tavares, Orlando and Atlantic Railroad and the Orlando and Winter Park Railway. In 1926 passenger operations were transferred to Orlando Health/Amtrak station. The Old Orlando Railroad Depot still survives to this day on the National Register of Historic Places.
The planned SunRail commuter rail projects will use Church Street Station as one of two stops in downtown Orlando, the other being LYNX Central Station. The station will be within walking distance of Orlando City Hall. The station will also provides easy access to the planned Performing Arts Center, the Citrus Bowl and the new Amway Center, home to the Orlando Magic NBA team
Night club complex
Church Street Station saw great popular success in the '70s and '80s as it operated as an attraction offering admission to multiple nightclubs (of various formats) facilitating "club hopping" for a single price in a monolithic location. It spanned both sides of Church Street and both sides of the railroad tracks. Walt Disney World emulated the successful formula, opening its own Pleasure Island club district amidst Church Street Station's peak years of success. The attraction's developer proceeded to develop a similar venue in Las Vegas, "Main Street Station" that at inception shared many club concepts with the Orlando facility.
As an attraction, Church Street Station eventually experienced a steep decline in attendance and had largely closed as a club-hop by the end of the 1990s.
Several attempts have been made by multiple owners to re-create the success of the mid-'80s. Today there is a relatively new improv venue in what used to be a restaurant. The area immediately around the station is slated to become downtown apartments.
With foreclosures and serial disappointments duplicating the successes of the past, the future of the development remains questionable. A source of probable stimulus will likely occur with the new Amway Center. Across Interstate 4, Orlando's new entertainment arena is being constructed on Church Street, within close walking distance of Church Street Station. The arena, home to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, is slated to open in Fall 2010. In addition, SunRail plans to revive the station as a commuter rail stop.
The former Rosie Oâ Gradyâs Good Time Emporium restaurant and entertainment venue â sold in June for $2.2 million to downtown commercial property owners Frank Hamby and Margaret Casscells. The new owners are transforming the 14,335-square-foot building into the New Orleans-style MoJo Bar & Grill. In addition, the AMWAY Center, new home to the Orlando Magic pro basketball team, opened Oct. 1, and nearby businesses anticipated a boost in traffic as arena customers hit the streets before and after events.
- 1972: Entrepreneur Bob Snow announces plan for a downtown Orlando entertainment complex.
- 1974: Snow opens Rosie O'Grady's.
- 1982: Cheyenne Saloon & Opera House opens.
- 1985: Church Street Station draws 1.7 million visitors, making it the fourth-largest tourist attraction in the state after Walt Disney World, Sea World and Busch Gardens.
- 1988: Snow sells 50 percent interest in Church Street Station.
- 1989: Snow sells remainder of his interest to a subsidiary of Baltimore Gas & Electric Co.; total cost of the two-step deal: $61 million to $82 million.
- 1994: Church Street Station completes major expansion with a 24,000-square-foot (2,200 m2) Presidential Ballroom for $5.5 million.
- 1998: Church Street Station loses $1 million on revenue of $20.85 million, attracts only 550,000 visitors.
- 1999: Baltimore Gas & Electric sells Church Street Station to Enic PLC, a British firm, for $11.5 million.
- 2001: Enic PLC sells Church Street Station to F.F. South & Co. for $15.9 million
- 2002: Lou Pearlman buys into Church Street Station, later becomes majority owner.
- 2007: Pearlman's financial troubles trigger foreclosure lawsuit against Church Street Station.
- 2007: Cameron Kuhn (Developer) purchased church street station at bankruptcy court auction due to financial issues of former owner Lou Pearlman Trans Continental Empire. The property was purchased by Kuhn for $34.1 million.
- 2008: Church Street Station retail opens including The Cheyenne Saloon by Bob Snow, Bliss Ultra Night Club, Brick and Fire Pizza and Wine Company, Ceviche Tapas Restaurant and Bar, The Dessert Lady and Hamburger Mary's.
- 2008: Lender Tremont Net Funding LLC file to foreclose on the property while Mr. Kuhn tries to retain control & negotiate the re-sell of the complex.
- 2010: Historic Church Street Station RR FRISCO 0-6-0 Switcher #3749 Locomotive which has been on display for many years at the station was put up for sale.
- 2010: The Amway Center arena opened on West Church Street and is already bringing an influx of business to Church Street vendors and establishments. In the long term the new arena is expected to at least stimulate partial revitalization to the complex.