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  • Mark Baratelli, Editor

Grand Street Neighborhood Center Major Certificate of Appropriateness Requested

Media center, gymnasium, exercise rooms, pottery studio, and more coming to former school property.


Borrelli + Partners, Inc (Website) is requesting a Major Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Board to do the following to the former Grand Avenue School site at 800 Grand Street (MAP):

  1. Construct 35,000 square feet of new facilities

  2. Demolish a 1982 library designed by Catalyst Design and walkway covers

  3. Renovate the 29,000 sq ft 1926 Historic Grand Avenue School structure.

The request goes before the Historic Preservation Board July 11th. The Recommendation from the Board's staff report is Approval of the request subject to conditions.


The purpose of the renovations is to turn the former Grand Avenue School site into the Grand Street Neighborhood Center. This project received a Conditional Use Permit (CUP2018-10013) in August of 2018 and was reviewed by the Historic Preservation Board Design Review Committee on May 9, 2019.


The purpose of the Grand Street Neighborhood Center is to house the Downtown Recreation Center programs and services that required relocation due to the creation of the Creative Village. The property will house a new media center, gymnasium, exercise rooms, pottery studio, and storage.


The new construction will create a series of courtyards to the rear of the building with the retention of several of the major trees. The capability to install solar panels in the future will be included in the new construction.


There is an art component to this project and those plans have not been finalized and will need additional review.


The existing park facilities include a lighted softball field with bleachers, a lighted baseball field with bleachers, picnic tables, grills, a concession stand, playgrounds, parking lots, and an open play area. The open play area (or multi-purpose field) is labeled a future phase of development and thus will be reviewed as Phase 2 of the Grand Avenue Park Master Plan.


The Mediterranean Revival style school building became a City of Orlando Historic Landmark in 1995 for architectural significance both for the style and the architect. The 1926 building is an example of the Mediterranean Revival style and was designed by Howard M. Reynolds. Reynolds also designed Princeton Elementary which is the “sister” school to Grand Avenue as well as most other 1920’s schools in Orlando. The construction firm of Daugherty, Nichols, Young was the builder.





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