Tag Archives: shopping

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, 2007 - Flurbex.com

The Mercado Mediterranean Shopping Village

Photo by Nomeus, 2007 - Flurbex.com
Photo(Nomeus, 2007 – Flurbex.com): Orlando first festival marketplace, it featured specialty shops, restaurants and entertainment.

The Mercado Shopping Village opened March 1986, Orlando’s first festival marketplace, which emphasized specialty shops, restaurants, and entertainment. With over 50 stores, they ranged from Old Tyme Photos, where you got your photo taken while wearing old time rags to Santa C., a shop which specialized primarily in Christmas year round.

The shopping center also featured events, for example in 1987 they had the Big Scoop Ice Cream Competition and Tasting Fair; open to all ice creams where they competed for best best vanilla ice cream, best chocolate ice cream, best ice cream dish, best ice cream drink and best far-out flavor. The shops also brought with them 15-20 gallons of ice cream to sell and the proceeds went to charity.

By 1988 though, business was waning. Merchants said it was mainly because the marketplace relied solely on tourists. In 1990, Martin Marietta Corp, owner, sold the Mercado for $42.5 million, a sale that was part of a liquidation of the company’s holding in the business park. It was managed by Ewing Southeast Realty Inc. until it was purchased in 1991 by Christian Wolfer, who at the time owned four different companies. In 2002, the owners filed for bankruptcy, blaming the post-Sept.11 tourist slump for the slow business. LaSelle Bank acquired the property and auctioned it off for $18.3 million.

Photo by Nomeus, 2007 - Flurbex.com
Photo(Nomeus, 2007 – Flurbex.com):One of the haunted houses during the Mercado’s Halloween event in 2006, “Nights of Terror”

The property was purchased by Unicorp National Developments in 2005. by that time, business was terrible. Less than a dozen shops remained; empty storefronts with broken windows were plenty and walking into a filthy bathroom was common. Unicorp hired a security firm to help combat the vandalism and crime in the plaza.

In 2006, Unicorp donated the plaza to Raw Productions, which put on a haunted house event for several weeks leading up to Halloween. Called Nights of Terror, they converted three empty storefronts and the still-operating Titanic: Ship of Dreams attraction into four haunted houses. Opening week though, they didn’t bring in the crowd they expected it to and began offering unlimited foods and lower ticket prices. Tenants complained the company brought in its own food and drinks, discouraging those who did attend to patronize their restaurants.

Unicorp announced in 2007, the Mercado would be demolished to make way for The Square, a mixture of upscale restaurants and eateries with a 424-room, 16-story hotel, dubbed Amalfi to be built first. The plan never materialized and in 2011, it was announced that a $100 million entertainment-dining-shopping district theme park called I-Drive Live would be built, including a 425 foot observation dubbed the Orlando eye, a Madame Tussauds wax museum, and a Sea Life Aquarium. As of 2013, the property is still an empty lot.

Photo by Nomeus, 2007 - Flurbex.com
Photo(Nomeus, 2007 – Flurbex.com): Blazing Pianos, a piano bar where pianists played rock-n-roll classics.

Photographer: Nomeus
Year Taken: 2007
Website: FLURBEX