Urban Neighborhoods: Orlando's Ivanhoe Village

August 12, 2011 13 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Metro Jacksonville visits an Orlando Main Street district destined to become one of Florida's largest Transit-Oriented Development neighborhoods: Ivanhoe Village

About Ivanhoe Village

Ivanhoe Village is located in the North Orange Neighborhood.  The commercial district is along North Orange Avenue and Virginia Drive.  Here you will find some popular local eateries, antiques, spas, services, and cool treats.  There are also a number of unique shops dotted along N. Orange including: Artichoke Red Vegan Market, Rock and Roll Heaven, Blissful Lotus Romance Boutique, and Retro City Cycles, just to name a few.  Anchored by Florida Hospital, Ivanhoe Village will soon be home to one of Sunrail's 17 commuter rail stations and an epicenter for the transit-oriented development that will come along with it.

Embracing The Main Street Methodology: Invahoe Village, Inc.

Ivanhoe Village, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to use the Main Street methodology to revitalize the commercial district along North Orange Avenue and Virginia Drive known as Ivanhoe Village. Ivanhoe Village is one of five Orlando Main Street neighborhoods designated by the City of Orlando.

Through a public/private partnership with the City of Orlando, local residents, merchants and property owners, Main Street’s objective is to improve the image and economic vitality of Ivanhoe Village by facilitating improvements and growth in four distinct areas:

•    Organization
•    Promotion
•    Design
•    Economic Restructuring

The Organization Committee works to not only ensure the well being of the organization that is Ivanhoe Village Main Street, such as membership, fundraising, volunteers, etc., but also creating a communication and information network between all the stakeholders in the Village. Our Board of Directors is comprised of residents, business owners, and property owners from in and around the Village, as well as representatives from organizations with a stake in Ivanhoe Village.

The Promotion Committee's primary responsibility is to market a unified, quality image of the Village’s business district as the center of activities, goods and services to retailers, residents, shoppers, investors and tourists.  The responsibilities of this committee are broad and typically include coordinating advertising, special events, and media relations.  Ivanhoe Village’s Promotion Committee is diligently working to produce the annual “Jingle Eve” Christmas event as well as the monthly “First Fridays Art Stroll.”   These events bring people here to experience and enjoy what Ivanhoe Village has to offer.  

Main Street’s Design Committee is dedicated to creating an attractive, coordinated and quality image of the Village by capitalizing on its unique assets and heritage.   The Design Committee is working on adding public art, bike racks, trees, and more parking to the streetscape as well as designing the look and “brand” of the Village and Main Street’s published materials.  Enhancement of the Village’s appearance is an objective of the program.

The Economic Restructuring Committee works to develop a market strategy for the district that will result in an improved retail mix, a stronger tax base, increased investor confidence and a strong, stable role for the Village as a major component of the Village’s economic health.

These four committees develop the organization's programs, budget, and annual workplan. The best way for most folks to get involved with Ivanhoe Village is to serve as a volunteer committee member.  For those who are interested in setting the overall strategy and goals of the organization, joining our volunteer Board of Directors is an option.

We always welcome community input and feedback on our programs, events, and strategy.  Please consider joining our organization as a member, attending a meeting, volunteering for a committee, or just contacting us directly to let us know what you think.

Comfort Suites and Wendy's are two suburban building types that still work well within an urban environment at pedestrian level.  In both cases, the buildings are immediately adjacent to the sidewalk, while surface parking is located to the rear of the properties.

New infill medical development along E. Princeton Street.

With its pedigreed origins in downtown Orlando’s Tropical Theatre, Theatre Downtown continues an ongoing tradition of theatrical excellence well into its 18th year.

Our location at 2113 N Orange Avenue opened to the public in early 1989 with its first production of David Mamet’s American Buffalo we have not looked back since.

Since that first production, Theatre Downtown has proven to be an invaluable cultural resource for the Central Florida Community, producing hundreds of plays from classics to cutting edge productions. Whether producing The Grapes of Wrath, or The Tempest, contemporary plays such as Sylvia or Wonder of the World...or original works from local playwrights, we bring our unique blend of professionalism, experience, and dedication to our work.

Theatre Downtown was voted “Best Local Repertory Company” in the Orlando Weekly’s Best of Orlando Promotion in 2001.

Theatre Downtown is dedicated to create a broader base of aesthetic possibilities in the Central Florida area by producing and spotlighting unique plays and artists.

We shall accomplish this by: producing stimulating, entertaining, and thought-provoking productions/events for Central Florida audiences, providing a supportive environment in which local artists can experiment, develop and share their talents, and by maximizing the potential of the physical plant in order to provide creative possibilities for as many individuals as possible.

Washburn Imports specializes in exotic imported furniture from Indonesia, India, China, Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, Laos and Bali.

The Dr. Phillips Center represents a defining moment in Orlando’s history. Including two grand performance theaters, a community theater, outdoor plaza and performance space, rehearsal rooms, administrative offices, and educational programming space, the performing arts center presents an epic opportunity to showcase our city to the rest of the world. Through this dynamic endeavor and state-of-the-art venue, we can establish a creative center that captivates both Florida’s tourists and residents for years to come.

Main Street Four-Point Approach

The four point methodology works to create a total image for the community: Providing the retail/professional area with its necessary market niche, creating a cohesive visual identity unique to the community, and nurturing a cultural ambiance associated with the community's location, appearance, and way of life. The Main Street Approach gradually builds on existing resources and fosters improved community leadership and support on behalf of the Central Business District for the long term.

1. Organization is the building of consensus and cooperation between the groups that play a role in the downtown. Many individuals and organizations in the community have a stake in the economic viability of the downtown.

2. Design involves improving the downtown's image by improving its physical appearance - not just the appearance of buildings, but also of street lights, window displays, parking areas, signs, sidewalks, streetscapes, landscaping, promotional materials and all other elements that convey a visual message about what the downtown is and what it has to offer.

3. Promotion involves marketing the downtown's unique characteristics to shoppers, investors, new businesses, tourists, and others. Effective promotion creates a positive image of the downtown through retail promotional activity and special events utilizing the downtown as a stage area of community activities.

4. Economic Restructuring involves strengthening the existing economic base of the downtown while diversifying it. Economic Restructuring activities include helping existing downtown businesses expand, recruiting new businesses, providing a balanced mix, converting unused space into productive property, and sharpening the competitiveness of downtown merchants.

Orlando Loch Haven Park
Orlando Loch Haven Park covers 45 acres and serves as the region’s premier cultural park. Nestled between three lakes, Lake Estelle on the north, Lake Rowena on the east, and Lake Formosa on the south, the park is located on North Mills Avenue and Princeton Street.  The lawn area in the center portion of the park is a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the lake views shaded by majestic oak trees. One of Central Florida’s oldest and largest oak trees, "The Mayor" is located in Loch Haven Park.

Orlando Science Center

In January 1955, the Central Florida Federation of Art and Sciences, a group of visionary Central Florida citizens, chartered a small non-profit science museum, to be called the Central Florida Museum and Planetarium. Beginning as a "museum on the move," the staff presented demonstrations in area schools and displayed exhibits in store windows and bank lobbies.
In 1957, the City of Orlando provided space for a permanent facility in Orlando, Loch Haven Park. The Central Florida Museum and Planetarium opened its doors in 1960. In its first decade, the museum was anthropology-centered with a focus on the natural history of Florida and the Caribbean basin.
Orlando Science Center has come a long way since 1955. For most of its history, the Science Center operated in a small building that was the original cultural facility in Loch Haven Park. Today, Orlando Science Center occupies a beautiful, 207,000 sq. ft. facility that is architecturally distinctive and built for the future with spacious exhibit halls, nature habitats, classrooms, a theatre, an observatory and visitor amenities such as a science store and cafe.
Today, Orlando Science Center attracts nearly 400,000 visitors each year with dynamic and engaging content.

Orlando Shakespeare Theater

The Orlando (previously the Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival) began its first season with two Shakespearean productions in 1989. Based in Florida in Orlando's Loch Haven Park, Orlando Shakes has performed 41 mainstage productions of Shakespeare's works. The Harriett Lake Festival of New Plays and playwrights' series of adaptations of classics and new works has produced world premiere productions of Robinson Crusoe, Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker, Poe, Deep into that Darkness Peering, Frankenstein, the Modern Prometheus, The Island of Dr. Moreau, A Christmas Carol in Five Parts, Trapezium, The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge, as well as the Florida Premieres of Around the World in 80 Days and Crime and Punishment.

Orlando Museum of Art

Founded in 1924, the Orlando Museum of Art is a 501(c)(3) educational institution whose mission reflects the continued growth of Florida, ardent community support for the arts and the OMA’s role as a leading cultural institution in the region.
Since its inception, the Museum’s purpose has been to enrich the cultural life of Florida by providing excellence in the visual arts. To meet this objective, the Museum has dedicated itself to collecting, preserving and interpreting notable works of art; to presenting exhibitions of local, regional, national and international significance; to developing first-rate educational programs; and to presenting creative and inclusive programs to reach every segment of a diverse community.

Annually, the Museum presents 10-12 exhibitions on-site and 13 exhibitions off-site, award-winning art enrichment programs, unlimited gallery tours, teacher in-service training programs, video programs, distinguished lectures, art appreciation lectures, studio classes, lecture/luncheon programs and outreach services in its facility and through outreach services. The services benefit individuals, including visitors from all 67 counties in Florida, the other 49 states and numerous foreign countries. These programs are implemented by the OMA’s staff, its Board of Trustees and more than 700 volunteers, many of whom are part of its membership of 5,000 individuals.
Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Orlando Museum of Art is supported by earned income, the Council of 101, donations from individuals, corporations and foundations, and sponsored in part by United Arts of Central Florida with funds from the United Arts campaign, State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Orlando Repertory Theatre

It began in 1926 when the Orlando Little Theatre was part of the City of Orlando's Recreation Department. The Orlando Little Theatre then merged with the Community Players in 1955 to form the Orlando Players, Inc. In 1968, the name was changed to the Central Florida Civic Theatre and the theatre's presence was firmly ensconced in Loch Haven Park.

In 1969, a dramatic school was established and increased a prevailing interest to raise money to build a theatre in Loch Haven Park. As a result, the new 350-seat Edyth Bush Theatre and the Tupperware Children's Theatre opened in October 1973. From that time, ever-expanding programs required additional space, and a rehearsal hall was added in June 1979.

The Children's Theatre Series for grades K-3, with adults performing for children, began in 1975 and later became the Theatre for Young People to reflect the expanded age range served.

In 1986, a second expansion of the theatre added offices, dressing rooms and a major workshop area for the Tupperware Theatre to meet the growing program needs. The name of the theatre was then changed to the Civic Theatre of Central Florida to reflect a more common usage and the facilities began being referred to as the Civic Theatre Complex.

In 1990, construction was completed on the largest expansion to date--the 400-seat Ann Giles Densch Theatre for Young People, which provided for the growth and enhancement of all existing programs with the theatre now offering black box, proscenium and thrust stages.

During the 1990s, the Civic Theatre produced a season of 17 professional productions, impacting over 100,000 visitors annually. The theatre also offered training and special performance opportunities for students and seniors.

Mennello Museum of American Folk

The Mennello Museum of American Art offers a diverse collection of paintings and sculptures, as well as beautiful environment to engulf the senses.  At the heart of the Museum's showcase is an outstanding permanent collection of paintings by Earl Cunningham (1893-1977).  Enriching the Central Florida community through special exhibitions, publications, and programs that celebrate outstanding traditional and contemporary American artists has been an integral part of the Museum's mission since its opening November 22, 1998.

The Eight Principles to Success

While the Main Street approach provides the format for successful revitalization, implementation of the four-point approach is based on eight principles that pertain to all areas of the revitalization effort:

1. Comprehensive.

Commercial district revitalization is a complex process and cannot be accomplished through a single project. For successful and lasting results, a comprehensive approach must be used. Simply stated, comprehensive means working on all four points simultaneously.

2. Incremental.

Small projects and simple activities lead to a more sophisticated understanding of the revitalization process and help develop skills so that more complex problems can be addressed and more ambitious projects undertaken. Starting with small projects creates progress and momentum at the same time.

3. Self-help.

Local leaders must have the desire and the will to make the project successful. The NTMSC provides direction, ideas and training; but continued and long-term success depends upon the involvement and commitment of the community.

4. Public/Private Partnerships.

Both the public and private sectors have a vital interest in the economic health and physical stability of the district. Each sector has a role to play, and each must understand the other's strengths and limitations so that an effective partnership can be forged.

5. Identifying and Capitalizing on Existing Assets.

Business districts must capitalize on the assets that make them unique. Every district has unique qualities - like distinctive buildings and human scale that give people a sense of belonging or businesses that have become local institutions. Main Street cannot create new landmarks or institutions; existing local assets must serve as the foundation for all aspects of the revitalization program.

6. Quality.

Quality must be emphasized in every aspect of the revitalization program. This applies equally to each element of the program, from storefront design to promotional campaigns to educational programs.

7. Change.

Changes in attitude and practice are necessary to improve current economic conditions. Public support for change will build as the program grows.

8. Implementation-Oriented.

Activity creates confidence in the program and greater levels of participation. Frequent, visible changes are a reminder that the revitalization process is under way. Small projects at the beginning of the program pave the way for larger activities as the revitalization effort matures.

Florida Hospital

Florida Hospital treats over 32,000 inpatients and 53,600 outpatients annually. This 900+ bed, acute-care community hospital also serves as a major tertiary facility for much of the Southeast. It is a part of the Florida Hospital system, a group of private hospitals which is owned and operated by Adventist Health System, a part of the worldwide organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is home to nationally-recognized institutes for cancer, cardiology, diabetes, orthopedics and neuroscience.  This hospital is not a level one trauma center but it does accept transfers for specialty care. The main purpose of the Florida Hospital group is medical emergencies and in-patient care.

Impact of Sunrail

Governor Scott's decision to approve Sunrail could potentially transform this district into the type of urban medical district that Rick Mullaney proposed for Jacksonville during his failed Spring 2011 mayoral campaign.  Florida Hospital plans to pay $4 million for the construction of a Sunrail station at its campus near Rollins Street and Orange Avenue.  The Station will complement a 172-acre, mixed-use, transit-oriented development that will include a medical office building, a research institute and an apartment complex.

Florida Hospital ’s Jody Barry is keeping his fingers crossed for SunRail.
That’s because Florida Hospital’s massive Health Village development of regional impact at the downtown campus got extra considerations from the city of Orlando for adding a SunRail station. And it’s not just a little: In total, if SunRail is axed, it would reduce the construction projects by $150 million and eliminate 2,500 permanent and construction jobs, Barry said.
“We have our fingers crossed,” said Barry, administrative director of facilities administration. “SunRail would be a cultural change for Orlando. Our roads are a clogged pipeline and they can only hold so much water. SunRail is a new pipe.”
In total, Health Village is slated to have 2,000 hospital beds, 1.5 million square feet of medical office, 201,760 square feet of general office space, 349,997 square feet of educational space, 874 multifamily residential units, 110,000 square feet of retail space and 463 hotel rooms. The amount of development for Health Village would be reduced by the following if SunRail doesn’t go through: 198 hospital beds, 148,000 square feet of medical office, 20,000 square feet of general office space, 32,970 square feet of educational space and 30,000 square feet of retail space.
Overall, kicking SunRail to the curb would put 11 percent of the total square footage at risk for Health Village, and 15-20 percent of total project, if you include the hospital beds, Barry said. What’s more, since Health Village is, at its core, a transit-oriented development, losing SunRail would fundamentally change the project.
“The vitality of it, without SunRail, would go away,” Barry said.
Full article: http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/blog/2011/06/florida-hospital-has-a-lot-riding-on.html

One of the largest employers in Central Florida, Florida Hospital is partnering with the community to build a SunRail station at its main campus, near the intersection of Rollins Street and Orange Avenue. The hospital expects to invest more than $230 million in new facilities within the next five years, as well as create a "Health Village" on campus. Within walking distance of the Loch Haven Park Neighborhood Center, Orlando Children's Theatre, Orlando Science Center, Bush Theatre, Orlando Museum of Art and Orwin Manor Park, the public SunRail station also provides easy access to Orlando's Antique Row on Orange Avenue, shopping and dining, as well as recreational activities on Lake Ivanhoe.

For those in search of answers to revitalizing Jacksonville's urban core, a visit to Orlando's Ivanhoe Village and a consideration of implementing the Main Street Program's approach to economic stimulation is a must.

For more information on Orlando's Ivanhoe Village District:




Article and images by Ennis Davis.