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by Tyler Williams
April 24, 2024

Orlando Health’s high-tech Jewett Orthopedic Institute, the system’s first-ever orthopedic hospital, won a Golden Brick Award on Tuesday for commercial development of the year.

The Golden Brick Awards, an annual ceremony hosted by the Downtown Orlando Partnership, highlights the people, projects and initiatives that contribute to the success and growth of downtown Orlando through the selection of winners from 14 categories. This year’s awards took place in Steinmetz Hall, within the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Orlando Sentinel reporter Scott Maxwell served as the host. City officials in attendance included Mayor Buddy Dyer and Commissioners Jim Gray, Robert Stuart, Patty Sheehan, and Bakari Burns.

Besides the announcement of the development of the year, other highlights included the selection of Jason Siegel, President and CEO of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission, as Downtowner of the Year, Altira Pool + Lounge for redesign & renovation, and three winners for public works & placemaking.

Maxwell, when kicking off the ceremony, pointed out that downtowns are essential to the success of any city.

“Downtowns are the heart of any great city,” he said. “It’s where deals are struck, where lives are built, and memories are made. And that is what we are here to celebrate today.”

“Hopefully, this year’s awards will be like the Oscars, but with less face slapping of the host,” Maxwell quipped.

Later on in the ceremony, Dyer expressed what downtown Orlando means not just to the city but to the entire region.

“I want to thank every person here who cares about our downtown and contributes to our downtown and makes our downtown special, and one of the best downtowns in all of America, and a downtown that we can call the true neighborhood,” he said. “I believe downtown Orlando belongs to everybody, every single person. It’s our gathering spot. I want people in Groveland to know downtown Orlando is their downtown, and same for people in Sanford or College Park.

“Downtown is truly the heart and soul of our community and the place that brings us together,” the mayor said.

The $250 million Jewett Orthopedic Institute, the top downtown commercial development from 2023, opened last August to accommodate a growing demand for orthopedic care with additional beds, educational facilities, and high-tech solutions.

The 375,000-foot, seven-story facility has 10 state-of-the-art operating rooms and 75 inpatient “smart-rooms,” which allow patients to use voice commands to change the room’s temperature or lighting. The rooms are also equipped with beds that can weigh patients.

The entire building is dedicated to orthopedic and spine surgery, a rarity among facilities nationwide. It is also the only institute of its kind to have an orthopedic specialty hospital and outpatient care center under one roof, which allows Orlando Health to meet the critical health needs of many patients.

Another feature is its training and educational facilities available to medical residents, as there is a 10-station cadaver lab on the seventh floor, along with a 118-seat auditorium for lectures.

The Altira Pool + Lounge at Grand Bohemian Orlando won the award for redesign & renovation. The rooftop pool and lounge opened last April as part of an $18 million renovation of Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando, owned by Kessler Collection. The comprehensive renovation also included upgrades and modernizations to the hotel’s rooms, the Bosendorfer Lounge, an on-site Starbucks, and The Boheme restaurant.

The lounge is a total renovation of the prior rooftop pool. The gathering space allows patrons to take in views of downtown Orlando in pods of seating with couches, bungalows, canopies, and cabanas around the pool.

The pool is reserved for hotel guests only. However, both the general public and hotel guests can enjoy the bar and lounge, complete with an all-day menu with specialty cocktails and seasonally influenced dishes.

To celebrate the downtown’s growing public art scene, and to recognize the importance of placemaking, the Golden Brick Awards celebrated three co-winners for Public Works & Placemaking.

Orlando’s Public Art Program aims to acquire and exhibit visual art in public places. Through the program, the city showcases more than 900 pieces of art, including paintings, sculptures, tapestries, and mixed media within City Hall, in public publics, and within parks and neighborhood centers.

The Achromatic Aria Fresco – An Ode to Harmony, is a collaborative project between the Thornton Park District, Orlando City officials, and local artists. The park features a mural built on the side of the City Centre Building at 201 E Central Blvd. The small park took the place of a now demolished two-story building that was previously home to a 7-Eleven.

An Ode to Third Places was also one of the winners. An initiative from the City of Orlando’s Community Redevelopment Agency, it revitalized two underused corners in downtown Orlando by turning them into art gallery plazas with murals and various live events, resulting in more vibrancy and foot traffic.

The third winner was “Unbelievably Real” from Visit Orlando and Orlando Economic Partnership. The mural, which debuted April 7, 2023, showcases local landmarks, attractions, arts, and culture.

Jason Siegel, who heads up the Greater Orlando Sports Commission, won the 2023 Downtowner of the Year award. One of his highlight achievements from last year included bringing games for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship to Kia Center. He was also celebrated for attracting the Special Olympics USA Games and securing the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

All three events brought a positive economic impact to Orlando, especially downtown, with millions in revenue for local hotels, restaurants, and businesses. The NCAA Tournament games alone accounted for a $19.3 million economic impact and 20,000 booked hotel rooms, officials estimated.

The U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, held in January, attracted around 100,000 spectators to Downtown Orlando. Dyer dropped the spoiler that the marathon trials would be next year’s winner for the sporting events category.

“It is a profound honor and privilege to stand before you as we gather here to celebrate the vibrant spirit of innovation and community in our beloved downtown. I’m especially humbled to accept this award and accolade that not only shines as a symbol of achievement but also as a promise for our collective future,” Siegel said when accepting the award.

The Downtown Partnership recognized winners from a total of 14 categories. Here is a list of the other winners:

Arts & Culture – Orlando Pride Highway Women Kit
– Project 814
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – Parramore Educational Ecosystem Engagement Plan
Entertainment & Special Events – Downtown for the Holidays: Increasing Community Engagement During the Holiday Season
Hospitality & Dining – “Orlando Made” at Inter&Co Stadium
Innovation & Technology – Lake Highland Preparatory School Porter Family Center for Innovation & Academics
Sporting Events – NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship (First and Second Round Games)
Sustainability & Resiliency – Robinson ReCharge Mobility Hub
Game Changer – Jerry Satterfield, Church Street Station’s SunRail Ambassador

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