Posted on by Heather Grove
In the lively Audubon Park Garden District, an abandoned 14,000 square foot two-story is an unharmonious site compared to the eclectic and funky shops along Corrine Drive. The building was constructed in 1962 as a church and stood as a sturdy place of worship until 2007. With the downturned economy, the building has stood vacant for the past five years, creating an odd void in the otherwise active community.
East End Market hopes to transform this space into a gathering place with a unique environment to nurture the neighborhood’s distinct culture. Other redevelopment projects have been known to revitalize communities, like a repurposed Wal-Mart turned into a Texas public library. As East End adapts the building into a bustling community food hub, the area’s economic, social and environmental health are at the core of the developers’ motivation.
The adaptive reuse project is not only economically viable, but environmentally as well. East End will extend the lifecycle of the structure, meanwhile minimizing Orlando’s sprawl, preserving virgin materials used in new construction, and conserving energy in general. As updates are made to bring the existing building up to code, energy efficiency is ensured by reinsulating the ceilings and replacing single-pane windows with double-pane windows. Sustainability is also incorporated by ethically and regionally sourcing building materials. As for the waste materials, like those from an old house on the back of the property, they are sorted and recycled appropriately.
An Urban Garden will take the space of a 1,300 square foot lawn off of Corrine drive. Edible plants and Florida-friendly varietals will be used for additional landscaping, rather than the irrigation-needy, non-edible alternatives. The market will also bring the outdoors in with creative planters made from reclaimed wood. Future phases will allow East End to incorporate other green designs like solar panels, a cistern for harvesting rainwater, and perhaps even a green roof.
The producer-focused market hall, incubator kitchen, farm-fresh restaurant, office/retail areas, and event space are slated to open February 2013. Aiming to support the food entrepreneurs and local business of Central Florida, East End also sourced their contractors and construction company locally, using Barefoot Brothers Construction and Schmidt Design and Architectural Resource Group (of Altamonte Springs). Just as Seattle, New York City and D.C.’s public markets have drawn national attention with their redevelopments, East End aspires to provide a comparable experience for visitors and residents of Audubon Park.