The current owner of the two story office building that houses the Gallery at Avalon Island (Website) has decided to donate it to the City of Orlando.
The Queen Anne-style Rogers building is owned by Ford W. Kiene, Chairman of City Beverages Limited and incredible patron of the local arts scene, and was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1983. It was built in 1886 by Mr. Gordan Rogers and served as a dance hall, theater, and event space. It is one of the last Victorian structures in Orlando, besides the still-vacant Hendry-Walker House under the 408. Kiene is donating it to the City under the condition that it be maintained as a cultural facility for a period of twenty years following the recording of the deed.
Located at the corner of South Magnolia Avenue and East Pine Street, the building was appraised at $955,803. The transfer of ownership is being treated as a charitable donation to the City, which will be paying all associated closing costs.
“We are grateful for this generous donation from Ford and how it will continue to further our efforts growing our burgeoning arts and culture scene.” – Mayor Buddy Dyer
The Rogers Building, now the Rogers Kiene Building, is currently being used by the Downtown Arts District, which oversees the operations of the Gallery at Avalon Island and occasional use of the upstairs theater. The current gallery curator, Patrick Greene, actually lives in the building on the second floor.
According to the City of Orlando’s Public Information Officer Jessica Garcia, “per the agreement, at closing, city and the tenants will execute occupancy agreements pursuant to which the tenants will continue to use and occupy the spaces rent-free.” So the gallery will continue to operate as is, at least in the short term, but it’s unclear as to whether or not the Downtown Arts District will be remaining in the building and if they will take over stewardship on behalf of the City of Orlando or if Greene will have to move out of the building.