The new owners of the Sorosis Woman’s Club building in downtown Orlando, Scott Crossman of Crossman and Co. and Daryl Carter of Maury Carter and Associates, are looking to get approval from the City of Orlando to continue to use it as the Eola Garden Club event hall.
Located in the heart of the Lake Eola Heights District at 501 E. Livingston Street [GMap], the hall was once home to a woman’s social and book club which went on to found Orlando’s first circulating library in 1893 and won awards for innovative programming in its later years like the Orange County bookmobile which brought books to county residents who couldn’t make the trip downtown.
The word “sorosis” means an “aggregation” and was used to describe an association of women or a “sisterhood.” Though it’s unlikely it had anything to do with traveling pants.
The club has since dwindled to 15 active members during the pandemic and they made the tough decision to sell their 7,500 SF building in March 2021. Up until that point they had rented out the space for small events and receptions, including to local Rotary Clubs for their regular luncheons.
Now that the club has left, the building is now home to Orlando-based Puff ‘n Stuff Catering (Website), which will lease and operate the space under the name of the Eola Garden Club, but first, they must secure a Conditional Use Permit since the property has only been allowed to host events since it was operated by a nonprofit since it was built.
The new owners are looking to carry out a number of improvements on the property including fishing the ceilings and floors, cleaning up the exterior of the building, and making the bathrooms ADA compliant.
The building is scheduled to reopen for events in early 2022.
If the project is not approved for special events, it’s likely that the site will be redeveloped for possible residential development.