Tag Archives: center

Photo by Bullet, 2010

Hollywood Fashion Center

Photo(Nomeus, 2010 – Flurbex.com): The stench from the bat guano is so intense, that you can smell it from the outside.

Opening in 1972, it started out as the Hollywood Fashion Center, a shopping mall which had four anchor stores including Burdines, Jordan Marsh, JC Penney and Richards and is thought to have been a factor in the demise of the Hollywood Mall. Some of the smaller stores included Hallmark Cards, Spencers Gifts, Walgreens and Walgreens Liquor Store, The Plum Tree, and Lillie Rubin, just to name a few.

In the late-1980s, the center started losing many of it’s tenants, including one of it’s anchor stores, Jordan Marsh, who filed for bankruptcy in 1990. In 1992, The Pembroke Lakes Mall opened just 6 miles away in Pembroke Pines. Burdines and JcPenney moved to the much larger stores in the Pembroke Lakes Mall later that same year. By January 1993, less than 30 percent of the stores were filled of the now anchor-less mall, forcing the owner to file for bankruptcy to seek protection from creditors. The center was ultimately auctioned off in August 1993 and sold to State Mutual Life Assurance of America for $4.3 million, but only $32,940 in the final transaction. The mall sat empty for the next decade.

Photo(Nomeus, 2010 – Flurbex.com): The inside has been heavily damaged by vandals, vagrants and scrappers.

On October 11, 2003, the center re-opened as an indoor flea market and renamed The Millennium Hollywood’s City Place. Millennium Development Enterprises signed a 60-year lease with plans to invest over $20 million to remake the mall. Plans included installing a 3,700 foot ice rink, functioning merry-go-round and over 1000 tenants by the time the mall opened.

Though the mall opened to great fanfare, it didn’t last long as tenants became frustrated as having sparse advertisement, no food court, and the recent discovering that most of the vendors were selling stolen wares attracted a very small number of customers. In December 2003, Swap Shop owner Preston Henn gave vendors at the Millennium Mall an offer, causing 180 of the 600 vendors to leave the mall for good.

Photo(Nomeus, 2010 – Flurbex.com): Though the mall is boarded up, that hasn’t stopped kids from getting in.

The mall closed again in 2004 and since then, there have been many attempts at reopening the mall with plans going no further than just talks. Though the building was boarded up to prevent the homeless and vandals from entering, it hasn’t stopped them from wrecking the inside. While some fellow explorers were there, they witnessed a group of kids running amok, shooting paint balls and smashing glass frames. Along with the vandalism problem, many bats and roaches had made the former JCPenney their home, making the air very toxic.

In April 2011, the mall proved to be a danger as a teenage girl fell down one of the elevator shafts. Police say the 14-year-old and about a half dozen of her friends were hanging out inside the mall when the girl fell some 30 feet down an elevator shaft. Instead of calling 911 though, her friends carried her outside and over a wall which separates the mall from the nearby neighborhoods. A neighbor said she was in very bad shape when an ambulance was called, noting that though her eyes were open, she was in shock and couldn’t think or make out words.

In 2012, it was reported that Walmart was looking into purchasing the mall, to demolish and to replace it with a supercenter. The following year, the owner of the landmark parcel submitted site plans to build a 185,000 square foot Walmart Supercenter along with a TD Bank, a Taco Bell and a Pollo Tropical. In November 2013, the city’s Planning & Zoning Board approved the plans.

The mall is currently in demolition and construction will begin soon afterwards. They plan to be open to the public by summer 2015.

Photo(Nomeus, 2010 – Flurbex.com): The suits were worn to protect against the bats and cockroach infested half of the mall.

Photographer: Nomeus
Year Taken: 2010
Website: FLURBEX

Photographer: Bullet
Year Taken: 2011
Website: Abandoned Florida

NBC 2 News, 2011 – Girl falls down elevator shaft in abandoned mall

Photo by Nomeus, 2009 - www.flurbex.com

Sunland Mental Hospital Orlando

State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, 1939
Photo(State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, 1939): Central Florida Tuberculosis Hospital, later known as the Sunland Training Center for Retarded Children.

Around 1952, a new series of state-of-the-art tuberculosis hospitals opened and were named W.T. Edwards, in honor of an important figure in the state’s healthcare industry who donated large sums of money to have the hospital built. Between 1952 and 1969, a total of 12 hospitals were built all over the state of Florida, including Tallahassee, Miami, Marianna, Tampa, and Orlando.

All the hospital buildings were constructed the same way; the main buildings were all very long and thin, consisting of 5 floors with a few smaller wings branching off from the main building. At the time, it was thought that fresh air was the best treatment for TB, so the buildings were riddled with multi-pane windows which could be opened by cranks. The back side of each building was a wall of windows, while the front windows were more evenly spaced apart, especially in sections that did not house patients.

When a vaccine for TB was discovered, there was no longer a need for tuberculosis hospitals and the W. T. Edwards Hospitals were all closed by the 1960s. The facilities fell under the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Health and were reopened as Sunland Training Centers by 1961. The main Sunland building, located in Orlando, was the only one not housed in a former W.T. Edwards.

Orlando Sentinel, date unknown
Photo(Orlando Sentinel, date unknown): The main building was a popular hangout with kids during it’s abandonment.

The Orlando Sunland Division was a residential facility which cared for profoundly mentally and physically disabled adults and children. Within a period of 10 years though, the hospital faced some crippling developments, mostly due to under staffing and lack of funds. an investigation was conducted in the 1970s after reports of abuse and neglect, ranging from getting bitten by rodents and pests to physical beatings.

Speaking strictly of the Orlando Sunland Center, investigations found that over 400 patients had gastric feeding tubes and were being fed a cereal-like gruel three times day. Investigations also showed the facility was maintaining unsafe surgical areas and used short-term doctor authorizations to administer treatments on a long-term basis.

The State Division of Retardation and local staff made promises for reform, but reform never occurred. After careful review, the Association of Retarded Citizens(ARC) filled a federal class action lawsuit in 1978, on behalf of the patients for gross neglect and abuse. This move forced the state of Florida to close all Sunland facilities in 1983.

It was reported afterwards that a shortage of staff and equipment led to a “proliferation of deformities” in patients. The deformities included “upper respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, skin breakdown and nutritional difficulties, all of which are much too common at Sunland Orlando,” Eileen Cox, the investigating therapist reported.

Orlando Sentinel, date unknown
Photo(Orlando Sentinel, date unknown): A crib-like bed, where most patients slept during their stay there.

The building laid vacant for years afterwards, attracting kids because of stories of the building being haunted. In June 1997, a 23-tear-old man and three friends were supposedly playing hide-and-go-seek inside when he was critically injured when he fell down one of the elevator shafts. Pine Hills residents lobbied hard after the accident to have building leveled by the state.

$2 million was set aside by the state and demolition was approved. In August 1998, a pre-demolition ceremony took place outside the old dilapidated hospital, as residents celebrated the building being torn down, ending a painful and controversial chapter in Orlando’s history.

Previous staff and patients were invited as well, some were interviewed of their time there.

Mary Kortes, a floor aide who bathed, fed and dressed patients from 1977 to 1979, remembers how tough it was to work there at first. “For two weeks after I went to work there, I couldn’t sleep because of what I saw there,” she said. “Everybody who worked there saw neglect, whether they admitted it or not. The state never gave us enough money.”

Her husband, Dick Kortes, who was the plant’s operations engineer during the same period, remembers the roaches. “The place was jammed with roaches,” he said. “I mean, they would do pest control, but roaches would get inside the fire alarms and set them off, closing the fire doors. “He also remembers patients being bathed on hard terrazzo slabs and the “clunking of bodies” as they were turned.

Connie Mitchel, who has cerebral palsy and was a patient and Sunland for 20 years, remembered sleeping in a crib-like bed that she would occasionally share with rats. She said she awoke in her 100-bed ward one night to find a large rat sitting on her chest. It wasn’t the first time she had found one on her bed, she said. “All I wanted was for him to get off me,” she said.

After being torn down in 1999, all that remaines of the Sunland facility is the old administration building.

Photo by Nomeus, 2009 - www.flurbex.com
Photo(Nomeus, 2009 – Flurbex.com): The admin building remains there to this day.

Photographer: Nomeus
Year Taken: 2009
Website: FLURBEX

Photographer: Jani77
Year Taken: 2012

Archive Photos

Daytona Beach Morning Journal – 1972 article on the ordering of Sunland staff to stop gastrostomies.

Daytona Beach Morning Journal – 1982 article about the death of an 11-year old patient

Lakeland Ledger – 1971 article on the concerns legislators have on the treatment of patients.

Photo by Nomeus, 2007 - Flurbex.com

NNPTC/Baldwin Park Barracks

Photo: Thought by neighborhood kids as an old mental hospital was actually the barracks for recruits entering power school.

In December 1966, it was announced that Orlando will be the site for the country’s third Naval Training Center due to it’s temperate climate, good transportation network, sufficient family housing and the availability of the nearby Orlando Air Force Base. The Orlando Naval Training Center(NTC) was commissioned on July 1, 1968, it’s primary use being the indoctrination of enlisted personnel at the Recruit Training Command. The campus included five barracks for 3,600 recruits, a mess-hall, a classroom building, a recruit chapel, and a training ship mock-up. By 1973, the facilities were doubled in size to accommodate 8,000 recruits.

In the mid-1970s, the Nuclear Power School relocated to Orlando from California and Maryland. The school trained officers and enlisted sailors on in nuclear propulsion after formal training elsewhere.

In 1993, the Orlando Naval Training Center along with many other military installations across the country were ordered to close by the 1993 Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission. The Recruit Training Command graduated it’s last company on December 2, 1994 and officially closed on March 31, 1995. The base was decommissioned in December 1998 upon the graduation of the final Nuclear Power School class.

Long before it’s closure, a redevelopment plan was created which included approximately 3,000 residential units, commercial space, and a pedestrian-oriented village center. In October 1999, the City of Orlando bought the property from the Navy and immediately resold the land to the developer, Orlando NTC Partners(now Baldwin Park Development Company), as per the plan. Demolition began soon after and was completed by mid-April 2001.

Over the years, as Baldwin Park was being constructed and the community grew, one remnant of the old Navy base remained. This 7-floor building was the first stop after boot camp for going to power school. It housed entering students through most of “A” school. Built in 1990, it was the newest building on the base at the time of base closure. The last entry class to use the building was in 1998 (E class 98-42). Class 98-42 attended only “A” school in Orlando and transferred to Charleston where the Power School Command was relocated to.

Plans to construct 410 apartments units on the remaining empty parcels of land in Baldwin Park were approved in 2008 and preparation for demolition of the barracks building began in May 2009. The building was demolished in May 2012.

Photo(Bluestreak, 2012): The building was demolished in May to make room for a new apartment complex.

Photographer: Nomeus
Year Taken: 2007
Website: FLURBEX

Archive Photos