Plans roar ahead for biker haven Ace Cafe in downtown Orlando
Orlando has approved a zoning change that will allow Ace Cafe to move forward with plans to develop a destination for motorcycle and car enthusiasts in downtown Orlando.
The change grants the "planned development" zoning designation to a 2.9-acre piece of property along Garland Avenue between Robinson and Livingston streets, next to the downtown Lynx and SunRail stations. The developers hope to open by summer.
The Harry P. Leu Building, circa 1926, sits on the property and will be renovated.
There are currently three Ace Cafe locations, including the original that opened in London in 1938. The Orlando location would be the first in the United States.
The flagship London location draws thousands of people to bike and cars shows and other events, and the Orlando Ace Cafe would be designed with similar events in mind.
"It's the most famous motor-diner in the world. For us to bring it to the U.S. is amazing," said Steve Glum, chief marketing officer for Ace Cafe North America. "It's going to be fun and family-friendly."
Plans call for it to be developed in two phases. The first would include a 22,600-square-foot cafe 15,700 square feet of retail and office space; 7,020 square feet of enclosed live-event space; and an outdoor area to display bikes and cars.
The second phase would include an additional 6,000 square feet of retail space.
Glum said Daytona Beach-based Magic City Cycles will have a satellite office at Ace Cafe selling motorcycles from European manufacturers Ducati, Triumph and BMW. Tampa-based Dime City Cycles, a custom shop known for the type of cafe racers that helped popularize Ace Cafe, will also be a subtenant.
At build-out, the business will employ an estimated 200 people.
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