Demolition of Building 44

While we’ve all been busy following the construction in the former Amity area of Universal Studios, new permits have been filed for the demolition of the long vacant Building 44 near the front of the park. The building initially housed the Murder She Wrote show, and later, the Hercules and Xena show. It has since sat empty, only briefly used for a haunted house in 2004. But it looks like it won’t be around much longer, thanks to some new permits filed this past week.

A demolition permit was filed with the City of Orlando on June 15th to: “demolish pre-cast 1 story building” “Universal Studios BLDG 44”.  A Notice of Commencement was also filed last week for “Demolition, New Foundations, Building Shell, Interior Build-Out”. The work is being carried out by Hensel Phelps, and by the sounds of the Notice of Commencement, they will be taking care of every step of the construction process, from the demolition to the construction of the new facility.

An interesting thing to note about the Notice of Commencement is that the contract is being carried out by Universal Creative. Typically, Universal Creative only handles contracts that deal with new attractions or large additions to the resort. Other improvements or additions have their contracts carried out by Universal Studios. For example, the demolition of the Old Hard Rock Cafe, the construction of Halloween Horror Nights haunted houses, and miscellaneous work, like the replacement of fire sprinklers, all have their contracts carried out by Universal Studios, not Universal Creative:

So what does this all mean? Well, since the demolition permit has already been approved and issued by the City of Orlando, and the building itself is surrounded by construction walls as of June 16th, I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire building was leveled within the next two weeks. This likely means that whatever they plan on replacing it with has a very aggressive construction schedule, and since the contract is being carried out by Universal Creative, I think it’s a pretty safe bet it’s some kind of new attraction, likely scheduled to open before the Harry Potter expansion.

Thanks to the measuring tool available on the Orange County Property Appraiser’s website, we know that 44 and its surrounding sidewalks occupy roughly 30,000 square feet of area. For the sake of comparison, the Despicable Me building is roughly 15,000 square feet, Shrek is roughly 22,000 square feet, and Cat in the Hat is roughly 32,000 square feet. We also can’t forget that the new Transformers ride at Universal Studios Hollywood made great use of space by utilizing a 2-story show building and an elevator system for its ride vehicles, so perhaps they could do something similar with this space?

Whatever the case may be, this is definitely an exciting time for Universal Studios Florida. The parks are getting more new additions than ever before, and the next few years look to be very exciting times. Be sure to leave you comments or speculation in the comment section below, or on our forums!

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