Edison project manager reveals construction secrets

By Allison Walker Torres, Entertainment Reporter/Anchor
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 09, 2018, 2:35 PM EST

Now that one of Disney Springs' most highly-anticipated attractions is open, we're digging deeper to find out how the Edison was brought to life.

"It's supposed to look old, yet it's new," said Mike Ostendorf, managing principal of AOA Builds, a Winter Park-based attractions design studio.

Ostendorf and his team were the project managers for the Edison, creating the brand new 'industrical gothic'-themed entertainment venue.  

"This is a central element in the Edison," Ostendorf showed us as we started our tour, pointing to a huge clock. "So this hits you in the face as you walk in the lobby."

Ostendorf took us on an exclusive sneak peek a few days before the Edison opened for its New Year's Eve soirée. He said that construction and custom jobs were done right here in town, with local sources and vendors.

But tracking down authentic pieces of decor led them way out of Central Florida.

"They'e all 100 percent cast-iron," he said, referring to the doors in the Boiler Bar. "We actually had a prop procurement person that spent years digging through the Internet, Craig's List and flea markets, looking for these components off of old power plants."

But not everything in the former Adventurers Club is authentic. Ostendorf said they used a technique called theatrical design, something Walt Disney himself was into. It's basically using more cost-effective materials to just look like the original.

For instance, the bricks on the wall are actually made of concrete that specialized artisans are able to trick out.

AOA Builds also managed projects like Morimoto Asia, Planet Hollywood, the Coca-Cola Store, among others.

"These projects are always very difficult," he acknowledged. "Lots of planning, lots of hours, lots of coordination with great people. Patina Restaurant Group is a great partner to work with on (the Edison) to try and bring the design to life, as well as Andrew Meieran, who was great in creating this vision ... Gensler -- they were the architects. They designed it."

The Edison has three bars and a craft cocktail and food menu. Only adults can get in late at night, as burlesque dancers entertain on select evenings. Check out our previous article for the -- ahem -- the nuts and bolts.


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