Formerly known as the Walker Hotel, LaunchNow has been in full force construction to see its vision brought to life. This year has seen a few challenges that brought setbacks to the project, including the COVID-19 outbreak and legal requirements from the National Parks Service requiring approval for the food hall.
LaunchNow is pleased to report they have cleared those hurdles and are right back on track. Work is resuming on the two residential buildings, coworking office space, and a food hall on the ground floor.
Laura Hamilton, Lead Developer of LaunchNow Titusville, gave a report to the Community Redevelopment Agency on May 26 detailing the progress of construction and giving an updated timeline for the project. “We are thrilled to report that the National Parks Service has approved our food hall,” said Mrs. Hamilton.
“We are actively underway with construction, and more specifically, we’re so far along that we’re currently on the mechanical engineering and plumbing [phase].”
The project includes 12 one-bedroom apartments and 8 studio apartments, featuring natural lighting and updated interiors while staying true to its historical character. Seven of the apartments will also include private decks peaking right into the heart of Downtown Titusville.
The food hall has been approved to house 10 food vendors and 2 bars, with a maximum occupancy of 140 people. Outdoor seating will also be available to give visitors the true downtown experience. Focusing on a people-centered design, LaunchNow unveiled their plans for the area in front of their new establishment, which they want to include bike racks, outdoor seating, drink rails, device chargers, music speakers, flower planters, ambient lighting, and public art. In order to bring a whole new feeling to the CRA, LaunchNow is seeking additional funding from multiple agencies, along with permission from FDOT to allow construction in front of their property.
The company has already received a Commercial Interior Renovation Grant of up to $100,000, and is eligible for a Façade and Beautification Grant for exterior landscaping and signage up to a maximum of $40,000. While 2020 has been quite a busy year, the company still plans to have the project completed in January of 2021. They have already begun leasing apartments now on their website at LaunchNow.space.
History of the Walker Hotel / Bank of Titusville
Built circa 1924 by owner George R. Walker of Miami, the Walker Apartments building (also known previously as the Walker Hotel and the Washington Hotel) was built to accommodate the influx of tourists into the city.
Designed by architect Martin L. Hampton, this 3-story Mission-style building housed apartments and hotel space on the upper stories and commercial space below. With the decline of the downtown area in the 1950s, the hotel fell into despair. Both Walker Hotel and the Bank are on the National Register of Historic Places.
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The late journalist Bob Hudson recalled some past tenants years ago. “Over time, there was Poe Grocery, Bazemore Pharmacy, Waters’ Men’s Clothing, Fulmer’s Drugs, Titusville Dry Goods and the Titusville Food Center.”
The hotel’s Spanish-mission style construction, embellished by stucco finish, terra cotta decoration, outside terraces and an arched walkway, was common in the 1920s.
From Washington Avenue, guests climbed a staircase to a second floor lobby.
The hotel boasted 9-foot ceilings, pine floors, crown moldings, 6-inch base moldings and solid oak doors. A small restaurant was on the second floor.
Like most old buildings the Walker Hotel has its share of lore. Reportedly, during World War II, a young woman whose husband had gone to war, stole away to the hotel with another man. Her husband, who intended to make a surprise visit, discovered the tryst and came gunning for his wife’s lover. It is also rumored that Al Capone stayed in the Walker Hotel.