palmtree73

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About palmtree73

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    Whistle-Stop

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    Orlando/Thornton Park
  1. palmtree73

    Creative Village

    Creative Mornings/Urban Rethink--Orlando with Craig Ustler I came across this event at the last minute and finally got a chance to see the man behind the plan, Craig Ustler. His presentation was really informative and inspirational. He covered a lot of ground and was appealing to the Creative Class crowd that showed up to make themselves more visible to the politicians and power brokers of Orlando because there's a perception that the Creative Class doesn't exist in Orlando. All the Old Guard of Orlando can't wait to get back to the old economic engine model of homebuilding and construction now that the economy seems to be improving. Another take away for me was about the importance of Sunrail no matter if anyone rides it or not. He said the important thing is the type of development that surrounds the stations because they're the walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods that the Creative Class seeks and creates the type of environment where people of all types bump into each other unlike your typical suburban office park (i.e. Maitland Center). I think this is a good talking point as a counterargument for all the politicians and public who think that every function of government should have a direct return on investment. What mass transit is doing is correcting all the bad investment made on far-flung roads and housing that created the poor land use in the first place. One of the things he warned the audience about was the time involved in doing this right. He said that doing things quickly would result in another Baldwin Park where everything looks the same. You need time to have things build out organically, and his timeline was five years before the first tenants start moving in and 15 years before the grid is restored and total buildout of a mid-rise district. Any of the plans you've seen with 40-story buildings are just to have on paper, and the goal is not to create another canyon wall effect of the CBD. There was a lot to be optimistic about, and it felt a little more doable than I'd thought before. If we could get a variety of architecture firms besides Baker Barrios designing the buildings, I'd be even happier.
  2. palmtree73

    Wawa coming to Orlando (and Tampa)

    Here's a rendering of the proposed WaWa on the southwest corner of Colonial and OBT. Because of the unwelcome type of pedestrian traffic (read: homeless and prostitutes) in that area, some College Park residents are trying to get WaWa and the city to make it more than a run-of-the-mill gas station. I think this is too highly of a visible entryway into the city and College Park for such use. I've always thought this area would be good for the kind of mid-rise housing going up in Uptown.
  3. palmtree73

    palmtree73

    In and around Orlando
  4. palmtree73

    Wawa coming to Orlando (and Tampa)

    For all the excitement over WaWa coming to town, there appears to be pushback for the one proposed near College Park on the southwest corner of OBT and Colonial. There's a community meeting scheduled for 6:30pm, Feb. 5 at Edgewater High School. I know there was quite a bit of disappointment that the 7-11 at Edgewater and Colonial wasn't noticed soon enough, and they're rallying the troops to stop yet another convenience store from moving in. 20130205_WaWaMeetingNotice.pdf
  5. palmtree73

    Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    This is the first I've heard of this downtown leader group. I was surprised to read that Ustler has been a skeptic of downtown retail, though, considering a good number of the successful retail spots are in his projects in Thornton Park and Uptown. 'Orlando 2.0' leaders want more entertainment, shopping downtown http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/os-downtown-orlando-group-20130127,0,3447083.story
  6. palmtree73

    Orlando Transit

    I like Alternative D, too. College Park and the Museums/Mills Park area are worthy destinations that aren't quite walkable from the train station, but I'm wondering about the travel time and how many buses would be needed to support a route that splits at the hospital. Where do you make the decision to get on the bus for College Park or Mills Park? Downtown or transfer at the hospital? A trip from downtown to College Park could end up taking 30 minutes one way and not something I'd chance on a lunch break. As I'm looking at these routes, I'm wondering what the trolley routes for Orlando looked like 60 years ago if there were trolleys here then. It may be time to dust off those old routes and put the tracks back in.
  7. palmtree73

    Orlando Transit

    I read these forums from my Google Reader and was wondering what the fuss was about. I'm not sure what problem this update was supposed to resolve. It seems like change for the sake of change. As for Lymmo, has there been any movement on the extension to Florida Hospital/College Park?
  8. palmtree73

    Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    Yeah, I've been following the successive rounds of layoffs and the Tribune bankruptcy filing. I hear there's another round of layoffs coming in the next month. I think the newsroom is flirting with under 100 people on staff when there used to be nearly 300 in the last 10 years. It's sad, but probably the most valuable part of the Sentinel's balance sheet now is the land its buildings sit on. If they're desparate for cash, I'm sure the easiest thing to do is sell off one of the blocks and redevelop what's remaining.
  9. palmtree73

    Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    What's even more depressing about the AJC move is that they moved just outside the perimeter of 285 to the Perimeter Mall area near the Dunwoody Marta station. Crossing 285 is huge symbolically for people in Atlanta. To be fair, Cox Communications, the parent company of the AJC, and Cox Radio were already in that area, and the power center of Atlanta had long shifted away from downtown.
  10. palmtree73

    Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    Sounds like Baker Barrios would have to be blocked from designing this sort of architecturally interesting space ;-). I see great potential for the frontages along Colonial and Orange. Law firms and companies would like an Orange Ave. address, and the views back toward downtown would be awesome since the courthouse tower is pushed back in the middle of its block. A building at least 10 stories tall built right up to the sidewalk would drastically change the feel of that part of town. If every corner of the Orange/Colonial intersection is redeveloped, it would have a calming effect on the traffic, and drivers would see pedestrians that are doing more than panhandling. The market is down now, but we'll get back on track with the usual seven-year boom-bust cycle. Uptown will be the focus of future development, and the Sentinel property could be the gateway to this evolving part of town. The local paper is a huge part of any city's identity, and whatever happens, the Sentinel should resist the economic forces that may lure it away from downtown. If it moved, I'd like to see it as an anchor tenant of the Creative Village.
  11. palmtree73

    Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    I have mixed feelings about the Miami Herald moving because I think of newspapers as a civic institution. A move out of the city core just feels wrong. And in the case of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the paper of record for a capital city, it's even worse. The AJC just made a move to the northern burbs of Atlanta in a chase after the affluent readers who live out there, and the city itself, which is growing, is being covered less and less.There's no disputing that the Miami Herald sits on primo property that may not be being used to its highest and best use, but I'd like to see it stay on the property or at least downtown in some way.
  12. palmtree73

    Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    When you say graphics department, you have to be a bit more specific. If it's the folks that put together the ads, I can't say, but if it's the designers in the newsroom who do layout and illustrate the stories, most of that moved to Chicago a couple of years ago. I've heard that they're combining a bunch of sections in a couple of months, which would leave fewer pages to be designed, but there are fewer than 10 designers now compared to over 20 that were on the editorial staff a few years ago. The Sentinel newsroom has been shrinking from its max of 200+ editors, reporters, researchers, photographers, and designers of 5 years ago to nearly half that amount now. Part of the newsroom was walled off for the circulation call center, which used to be in one of the two outlying buildings next to the courthouse parking garage. The Sentinel used to be one of the city's major employers with 1,200+ employees. I have no clue what the count is now, but it's still significant. When Sam Zell bought Tribune Co., I always felt that his interest in the newspapers Tribune has across the country was more about the prime real estate they all sit on. The Sentinel is sitting on two city blocks next to the courthouse and at the intersection of what is considered Main and Main. What I'd like to see the Sentinel do is move its printing press out near the John Young Pkwy/Princeton area (FYI: The i-4 Amelia St. exit is where it is because the publisher of the paper in the 50s wanted it there for easy access for the paper's trucks) Tribune should redevelop its property for a mixed-used center with the Sentinel as the major tenant and namesake of the property. It would be much like how The New York Times built a 52-story skyscraper just a couple of blocks from its old building but occupies just half of it. The other half of the NYT building is taken up mostly with law firms. Think of how attractive the Sentinel property would be to law firms since it's adjacent to the courthouse. The Sentinel's property just got even more attractive with the SunRail stop a block away much like how the NYT building is across the street from the Port Authority and just a few more from Penn Station. Whatever the Sentinel wants to do with its property better happen soon because once the Casey Anthony trial TV studios move off the Pizutti block, there will be more interest in developing that particular block.
  13. palmtree73

    SunRail

    I think there has been grassroots support from the community. I'm sure Scott cares about what the hospitals think. It seems like every other decision by him has been a windfall for healthcare companies, so why should this be any different? As for companies voicing their support, I think hearing that a company like JetBlue decided not to move its headquarters to Orlando partly because of a lack of mass transit (lack of arts and decent schools where the other reasons).
  14. palmtree73

    Mills/50

    I had a feeling something was up with this project because the sign at the corner had been taken down, but the lights in the sales center have been turned on.
  15. palmtree73

    Downtown Orlando Project Discussion

    Insert usual rant about how boring Baker Barrios is here. This has got to stop. I don't think we need to cheer every development that goes up downtown if this is what gets built because Baker Barrios is well-connected. I drive by this building and the OUC on the 408 and get upset at the lost opportunities every day, twice a day.