ORLANDO, Fla. – Improvements are coming to The Plaza Live venue in Orlando, thanks in part to a $10 million grant from the county to fund the renovations.
The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, which owns the 53-year-old Milk District venue, announced Tuesday that the Orange County Board of County Commissioners approved using $10 million in tourist development tax dollars to fund the project. Private philanthropy will also help pay for renovations.
“We look forward to capturing the nostalgia and preserving the history of The Plaza Live that existed decades ago, while infusing new technology and design of today as a part of the vision for the future of this unique and dynamic venue,” Candy Crawford, president of the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation board of directors, said in a news release.
Phase I of the project began in 2013 with improvements to the rehearsal area, backstage and office spaces.
The second phase will involve transitioning ownership of the building to the city of Orlando. A long-term lease will allow the Orlando Philharmonic to continue using and maintaining the building.
The third and final phase that involves renovations will begin after the ownership is transferred at some point this year. Construction is expected to last a few years and will include improving accessibility, upgrading the lobby, restrooms and front facade of the venue.
While more details about specifics will be announced in the future, officials said construction will likely take place in the summer months when there are fewer concerts and shows.
"When renovations do begin, we hope to have minimal impact on the venue and bookings," said Cristina Venturini, Orlando Philharmonic associate director of marketing and communications.
A conceptual rendering of the venue's entrance shows the marquee from the Bumby Avenue locale will be removed in favor of a more modern look that includes expanding the awning. The cylindrical rooftop sign, which was built in Seattle and shipped to Orlando in the 1960s before the theater's grand opening, will remain.
It's possible, however, that the design could change.
Little Diversified Architectural Consulting will serve as the project architect.
“We look forward to enhancing the experience and utilization of The Plaza Live, which will provide increased financial support for the Philharmonic and is a part of our long-term sustainability plan and growth. We are thankful for the outpouring of community support of the orchestra and venue and we look forward to sharing the completed project with the Central Florida community,” president of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Board of Directors Dr. Mary Palmer said in a news release.