New Men’s Service Center – coming mid-2012!

What, Why and When of the upcoming facility for men

In May 2009, Coalition for the Homeless, along with the City of Orlando and Orange County Governments, announced some exciting news. With $6.6 million in capital funding support from the City and County through federal Community Development Block Grant dollars, the Coalition could finally realize a dream and start to plan for the construction of a new Men’s Service Center (MSC) on our current property at 639 West Central Blvd.  The new facility would replace our nightly drop-in shelter, the Men’s Pavilion, and would offer much-needed case management and supportive services to one of the most underserved segments of the homeless population – homeless men.

A lot has happened since that announcement to bring our dream closer to reality.  We thought you’d like to know where we are in the process of approvals, design, and construction.  The awesome bottom line is that we will break ground in summer 2011 on the new MSC.  The facility is expected to be completed and operational in mid-2012.

Design services and community support

In November 2009, Baker Barrios Architects began to design the facility for us free of charge, a value of over $200K, and took the design through the schematic phase.  Renderings of the new facility and information about planned services were presented on April 8, 2010 at a community meeting hosted by City of Orlando District 5 Commissioner Daisy Lynum and the Callahan Neighborhood Association.  The support of our Parramore neighbors is of utmost importance and we were pleased that the community responded positively.

Subsequently, on June 21, 2010, the Orlando City Council approved the Municipal Planning Board’s (MPB) recommendation to move forward on the MSC’s design and construction; and on September 20, 2010, approved the architectural agreement between the Coalition and The Powell Design Group.  This firm began the facility’s final design in October 2010.

Tri-party Agreement, approvals

Backing up a bit with regard to other necessary approvals and agreements for the project, our Board of Directors formally approved the MSC construction in October 2009 and authorized President/CEO Brent Trotter to enter into agreements with the City of Orlando and Orange County. The diligence of the Coalition and our government partners over the ensuing months resulted in a Tri-Party Agreement outlining responsibilities for the planning, design and construction of the MSC.

The Tri-Party Agreement was approved by the City of Orlando on December 13, 2010, merging the $800,000 sum awarded in earlier agreements, and formally committing $1.6 million for the facility’s design and a portion of the construction.  (The City Council approved the remaining $800,000 on March 28, 2011.)  Orange County Government approved the Tri-Party Agreement on February 15, 2011, committing $5 million toward construction costs.  Orange County will manage the bidding and construction process.

Where are we now?

The design stands at 100% and we are in the permitting stage. Orange County hopes to advertise for construction bids in late April or early May.  Potential bidders should check the Orange County website for information.