BALDWIN PARK, Fla. - A well-known Irish pub in Central Florida is calling it quits, but its last call is just the latest in a string of closures in Orlando's master-planned Baldwin Park neighborhood.
"It is very sad," said Patty Craig.
Craig was about to grab lunch at Paddy Murphy's Irish pub in Baldwin Park on Friday, but the doors were locked and the restaurant was empty.
"I feel like this particular area is such a lively area and to see something shut down it kind of takes away from that," said Craig.
Its' a familiar scene in Baldwin Park. Roughly 50% of the retail space is now empty.
Paddy Murphy's owner, Tom Murphy, says after six years in business, they just couldn't survive the down economy, high rent, and overall slow sales.
But not all businesses there are in the same boat.
"There's about a third of it that does really well. Publix does well here, Seito Sushi expanded, the nail salon the hair salon, a lot of retail does well," says John Crossman, a commercial real estate broker. "About a third of it struggles, it's had some issues here and there. And about a third of it just shouldn't exist."
Crossman helped develop the town centers in the Villages and Celebration. He blames Baldwin Park developers for building too much retail space in the first place.
"So, I think the question is, when will all the vacant space be leased? And I think that's going to take several years," said Crossman.
But, Crossman says, Baldwin Park is headed in the right direction. He says one way to solve the problem is through more residential growth. New construction is underway and home values are up. Crossman says the other solution is getting more people to visit Baldwin Park through special events and marketing.
As for Paddy Murphy's, the owner tells Local 6, they had a buyer lined-up who planned to continue the Irish pub theme, but property management would not sign off on the deal.
Local 6 has learned, Gator's Dockside may take over the space, but negotiations are still underway.
Meantime, Paddy Murphy's is inviting everyone to come by and say good-bye this weekend-- offering free beer Friday night, Saturday night and all day Sunday.
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