It’s been a mystery for years — what’s in the upper levels of the old Walker Hotel in downtown Titusville?
“From the parking lot it looks like storage to me,” said Allison Violette, a lifelong resident of Titusville.
The near century-old building is a landmark in downtown, housing a handful of businesses on its ground floor. But despite it’s bustling lower level, a certain secrecy looms above.
So what’s up there exactly? Not much right now, but that will all change in the months to come, as Denver-based Red Canyon Software looks to flip the old building into a center for innovation. They’re hoping it will eventually help turn Titusville into a “Silicon Valley 2.0.”
With plans to completely rejuvenate the 1920s-era building, Red Canyon founders Barry and Laura Hamilton will turn the dilapidated second and third floors into 20 to 24 “boutique-style” apartments alongside a “collaborative work space.” The team will also renovate the club room and rear balcony, and the entryway will be restored to its “original historic magnificence,” according to the project’s website.
It’s a $3 million project that is expected to be complete by the second half of 2018. The project is also supported by the North Brevard Economic Development Zone, which awarded the company a redevelopment grant of up to $300,000.
“By helping induce this project to go forward, the Zone is signaling its desire to grow tech jobs for the region,” said Troy Post, executive director of the NBEDZ, in a release.
The effort isn’t just a passion project, though, it’s to make way for the software company, which will add 20 jobs to the area. Those jobs will have a median salary of $55,000.
It’s being called the “Launch Now” project and will transform the space into an “agile, design-forward, mixed-use neighborhood assets, full of life and powered by green technology,” said Laura Hamilton, during a speech to kick off the project earlier this month.
Currently, the upper levels are in rough shape. To get there, guests must enter the building at the northern end of the ground floor where a bank used to operate. Inside, a Phantom of the Opera-like chandelier greets visitors in harmony with a grand curved staircase — a beautiful sight that was once a backdrop for prom pictures and other special occasions, said Holly Carver, a commercial real estate broker and North Brevard Advisor for Lightle Beckner & Robinson, who oversaw the sale of the building. In the back, vaults line the wall behind what used to be a bank teller’s counter.
But upstairs has a different aura. Debris is spread throughout, with exposed walls and an almost eerie feel. An enclosed alleyway connects the building upstairs. The second story is a bubblegum pink color, and rooms offshoot from a main hallway. A balcony looks over Washington Avenue and the Playalinda Brewing Company below. On the third floor, it’s much of the same, except with spectacular views of the Indian River and Kennedy Space Center. There is little plumbing, but a sense of history is felt throughout. The building has been a hotel, a bank, an apartment complex and has housed a number of other businesses, according to the North Brevard Business Directory.
And it’s this history that intrigued the Hamiltons to expand their company into Titusville.
“We will breathe life into all the stories behind these walls, including Al Capone’s stay in the Walker Apartments next door and the so-called ‘Rum Run’ that may or may not have been based out of the balcony next door,” said Laura Hamilton.
The duo wants to turn the building into a place where people can “live, work and play,” an urban setting in an otherwise suburban town. The businesses operating below, which include Pistilli’s Bistro & Pizzeria and Expressions Hair Salon, will remain tenants and will stay open during construction.
Renovation planning has already begun, said Carver, and architects, historians and contractors have been onsite for months. However, an official construction start day is still to be determined, pending approvals to keep the building’s historical status.
When all is said and done, those mysterious windows overlooking the heart of the city are slated to become trendy apartments in a building the company hopes will change the pace of Titusville itself.
Source: Florida Today]]>
“Red Canyon will bring a new sense of lifestyle into our already exciting Downtown area,” said Titusville Mayor Walt Johnson. “Red Canyon is showing that growth will not diminish Titusville’s rich history, but help preserve parts of our past as we look forward to the future.”
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