City orders closure of 1010 west venue in parramore – bungalower gas out game instructions

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1010 West, named after it’s address of 1010 W. Church Street [ GMap], is a former airplane hangar that was built in the early 1900s, just up the street from the new soccer stadium. Tucked behind an unassuming industrial exterior of metal and faded stucco, 1010 West is a funky, raw hall that was outfitted to serve for a variety of different events, including weddings, banquets, conferences, and church services.

A City spokesperson told Bungalower that safety concerns were raised last September when City Hall first became aware that the warehouse had been used as an event space since spring of that same year. According to City code, public gathering in a warehouse is not allowed without proper permitting and none of the improvements carried out on the building had been permitted or sanctioned. Photo by Jon Busdeker

Ben Hoyer, Executive Director at Downtown Credo ( Website), is also the pastor of The Cross Orlando ( Website), a church that meets weekly in the 1010 West space and rents it as an event space for public gatherings and weddings. Hoyer told us via telephone that, “I never felt the building was unsafe. I would never have had my church there if it was.” Hoyer and the church are leasing the space from Brad Cowherd, a local businessman whose name you may recall as the man who swept in to purchase and restore the historic Howey Mansion ( Website).

The City told Hoyer and Cowherd that from a Life Saftey perspective, the number of people in the aging structure was worrisome, and coupled with the lack of records around the renovation work that had been carried out in the interior of the building, unacceptable. Any mechanical or aesthetic improvements performed on a building within city limits must have a city-issued permit and more specifically, in order to use a warehouse as a public events space it must go through a lengthy Change of Use process.

The City asked 1010 West to submit all of the events they had scheduled for the next few months and required them to hire Fire Department personnel to be on-hand for any public event in the space until they had proven they were compliant. The Fire Watch program places Fire personnel in buildings that are at risk of catching flame, and, according to Cowherd, carries a cost of $150 per visit.

The Fire Watch program was meant to be a short-term buffer to allow Cowherd to produce proof from a licensed engineer or architect that certified all work was done to code and was safe for public use, but lasted well into the New Year. The City issued a Cease and Desist to the 1010 West property in March when they learned that unsanctioned events were being hosted without Fire personnel in attendance and without informing the city that they were taking place.

An additional Cease and Desist order was issued on May 4 when events continued to occur in the building. A wedding was then hosted in 1010 West on May 13, and as a result, the City ordered Code Enforcement to disconnect power in the venue, in effect condemning the building so no further activities could take place within.

Cowherd told us that the issue with the insulation has been resolved, stating that a professional architect had visited the site and deemed it safe and that they were working with a company on installing the requested fire sprinkler system. However, the firewall seemed to be a contentious issue. As Cowherd tells it, City code doesn’t address round buildings (the structure is dome-shaped), and the permitting department was unsure as to how to enforce that last requirement and move forward.

There is no expected re-opening date for 1010 West, but we’ve been assured by the City and all parties involved that they are working towards a safe resolution for everyone; which could take time. Meeting all of the above Life Saftey measures required by the City would allow 1010 West to reconnect their electric but they will still need to go through the zoning process to attain a Conditional Use Permit for the property.

1010 West, named after it’s address of 1010 W. Church Street [ GMap], is a former airplane hangar that was built in the early 1900s, just up the street from the new soccer stadium. Tucked behind an unassuming industrial exterior of metal and faded stucco, 1010 West is a funky, raw hall that was outfitted to serve for a variety of different events, including weddings, banquets, conferences, and church services.

A City spokesperson told Bungalower that safety concerns were raised last September when City Hall first became aware that the warehouse had been used as an event space since spring of that same year. According to City code, public gathering in a warehouse is not allowed without proper permitting and none of the improvements carried out on the building had been permitted or sanctioned. Photo by Jon Busdeker

Ben Hoyer, Executive Director at Downtown Credo ( Website), is also the pastor of The Cross Orlando ( Website), a church that meets weekly in the 1010 West space and rents it as an event space for public gatherings and weddings. Hoyer told us via telephone that, “I never felt the building was unsafe. I would never have had my church there if it was.” Hoyer and the church are leasing the space from Brad Cowherd, a local businessman whose name you may recall as the man who swept in to purchase and restore the historic Howey Mansion ( Website).

The City told Hoyer and Cowherd that from a Life Saftey perspective, the number of people in the aging structure was worrisome, and coupled with the lack of records around the renovation work that had been carried out in the interior of the building, unacceptable. Any mechanical or aesthetic improvements performed on a building within city limits must have a city-issued permit and more specifically, in order to use a warehouse as a public events space it must go through a lengthy Change of Use process.

The City asked 1010 West to submit all of the events they had scheduled for the next few months and required them to hire Fire Department personnel to be on-hand for any public event in the space until they had proven they were compliant. The Fire Watch program places Fire personnel in buildings that are at risk of catching flame, and, according to Cowherd, carries a cost of $150 per visit.

The Fire Watch program was meant to be a short-term buffer to allow Cowherd to produce proof from a licensed engineer or architect that certified all work was done to code and was safe for public use, but lasted well into the New Year. The City issued a Cease and Desist to the 1010 West property in March when they learned that unsanctioned events were being hosted without Fire personnel in attendance and without informing the city that they were taking place.

An additional Cease and Desist order was issued on May 4 when events continued to occur in the building. A wedding was then hosted in 1010 West on May 13, and as a result, the City ordered Code Enforcement to disconnect power in the venue, in effect condemning the building so no further activities could take place within.

Cowherd told us that the issue with the insulation has been resolved, stating that a professional architect had visited the site and deemed it safe and that they were working with a company on installing the requested fire sprinkler system. However, the firewall seemed to be a contentious issue. As Cowherd tells it, City code doesn’t address round buildings (the structure is dome-shaped), and the permitting department was unsure as to how to enforce that last requirement and move forward.

There is no expected re-opening date for 1010 West, but we’ve been assured by the City and all parties involved that they are working towards a safe resolution for everyone; which could take time. Meeting all of the above Life Saftey measures required by the City would allow 1010 West to reconnect their electric but they will still need to go through the zoning process to attain a Conditional Use Permit for the property.