Orlando’s legendary/infamous Parliament House, where I made my first tentative steps into a gay bar on April 18th, 1976*, has declared bankruptcy. Via the Orlando Sentinel:
Parliament House, a gay resort and entertainment complex, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday citing $15.5 million in debt. The 4.5-acre complex defaulted on loans during the recession in 2009 and has been locked into a foreclosure and refinancing battle since then, said bankruptcy attorney Scott Shuker. “It’s clearly the intent of Parliament House to continue operating and restructure its debts, but we just couldn’t reach agreement with two secured lenders,” Shuker said. The resort is approaching its 40th anniversary. Businessman Donald Granatstein and Susan Unger, both of Toronto, have owned Parliament House for 15 years. Shuker said the business suffered cashflow problems in 2009. Both lenders that held mortgages also went under during the recession. The complex is about 1.5 miles west of downtown Orlando along Orange Blossom Trail.
As any Orlando resident will tell you, the Parliament House has swung between wildly popular and closing-at-any-minute many, many times over the decades. I’m guessing that its current woes are probably related to the failed gay timeshare complex that the owners planned for the adjacent property. (Via Towleroad)
*The drinking age at that time was 18 so it was not terribly uncommon to find high schoolers (like me) in nightclubs.
RELATED: The Parliament House’s iconic neon sign is considered an Orlando landmark and the one pictured above is actually a 2004 almost-replica of the 1960 original, which was destroyed by Hurricane Charley. As you can see from the late 70s postcard below, the original sign read “MOTOR INN” not “RESORT.”