With garage construction, Hollywood Plaza takes shape on International Drive

By Allison Walker Torres, Entertainment Reporter/Anchor
Last Updated: Tuesday, April 11, 2017, 5:45 PM EDT

You might've noticed a parking garage that recently shot up next to Mango's Tropical Cafe. That garage is also an entertainment complex, the beginning of an entirely reinvented corner of the tourist district.

  • Hollywood Plaza parking garage going up on I-Drive
  • Start of development that will include pedestrian skyways
  • Skyplex construction should start by the holidays
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Armed with hard hats, Developer Joshua Wallack let us climb to the top of his new 880-space garage on the southwest corner of International Drive and Sand Lake Road. It's called Hollywood Plaza.

We were the first to tell you that Hulk Hogan is moving his beach shop into the ground level. Hogan's Beach Shop is in a temporary location on the northeast corner, having opened in time for Wrestlemania 33.

We also learned that only one additional tenant will occupy the ground floor. Until it's in ink, Wallack will remain tight-lipped, except that "it is not a food use."

Instead of having parking spots out front, Wallack is building a promenade. On the top floor of the structure is a fine Italian restaurant -- Circo -- with sweeping views of the City Beautiful.

Garage parking isn't free.

"Basically, same as Pointe Orlando where if you come in, [you'd] get a ticket," he said, also mentioning that Mango's will validate.

Wallack says the parking garage itself (not necessarily the restaurant or two tenants) should open by the holidays of this year. That's also when activity on SkyPlex -- including the world's tallest roller coaster --  is expected to begin.

He revealed that the entertainment complex will have a theme, but it's not going to be like Mango's.

"As soon as you go up that escalator and you go underneath the rails of that coaster, you are transported into the land we want you in," he smiled.

He says the tower (598 feet high) for the polercoaster will go up first -- sitting 200 feet taller than the Orlando Eye. And to help you get there, an Orange County public works project is putting crosswalks in the sky (See image in the gallery above).

 

 

"If there's going to be the "world's biggest" McDonald's, and then the "world's biggest" roller coaster opposite of each other, and there's going to be something over there so I'm not leaping in front of cars, I'm going to be a very happy person," said tourist Andrew Sharp, England, who was waiting to cross.

"This is a nightmare," another tourist, Karen Azure, said, who was also waiting for the pedestrian signal to turn.

Wallack says some of that congestion is caused by people circling, trying to find parking. He's hoping that the 2,000-3,000 bodies from 880 cars in his garage will have positive impact on the guest experience.

Meanwhile, also visible from the new garage is activity on top of Mango's. Crews are building a rooftop level big enough for 1,000 people. Pillars will lift the floor to help lessen the impact on the roof.