In 1975, part of the building was converted for use as a federal
courthouse. The Synkoskis have retained many features of
that period, including the tiny holding cell for prisoners once
housed in the federal marshal’s office on the premises. The cell
forms part of a groom’s room upstairs. Brides can get changed
in the old jury room.
The Synkoskis have booked more than 20 events since opening.
Most recently, the building was used for the St. Lucie Cultural
Alliance’s first Music Series event, Marvelous, the Music of
Marvin Gaye, in January. A series of musical events is planned
by the alliance in coming months. Main Street Fort Pierce plans
to hold its popular Reverse Raffle at the venue this month.
Aside from providing meeting, event and performing space
in the city, 500 Orange could help spur the rehabilitation of
the Peacock Arts District along Orange Avenue by creating a
destination point for the area.
The renovated post office and former courthouse, which has been vacant
for 20 years, has recently reopened as an events venue for weddings,
anniversaries and community meetings.
The city commission gave preliminary approval in January to increase the height
of King’s Landing from eight stories to 11 stories.
“It’s a balancing act. The city desperately needs the economic
push” King’s Landing will provide, she said.
The Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County
estimates the new development will have an economic impact
of more than $20 million a year and provide hundreds
of new jobs.
“I can’t be too over-confident,” developer Matteson said
before the meeting, “but I hope after all the scrubbing the
development has gone through, I hope it passes muster.
Otherwise, denying the project could give Fort Pierce a
bad name in development circles.”
Matteson expects to break ground for the hotel by the
end of the first quarter of this year.
He confirmed that several existing restaurants, including
12A Buoy, Pickled, Pierced Ciderworks and Cobb’s
Landing, have all committed to taking new space in King’s
Landing. This is in addition to their current premises, Matteson
pointed out. Some will be very different from their
original locations. Cobb’s Landing, for instance, is talking
about building a tapas bar and surf shop.
Karen DeVries, who purchased longtime downtown
business Chaney’s House of Flowers in April, also is
enthusiastic about King’s Landing. She has revamped her
florist shop with more space for gifts and her own artwork
and made a bigger display area for plants and cut flowers.
DeVries noted she is only the eighth owner of the shop,
which has been in business for 75 years. Business is good,
“Everyone loves flowers,” she said. “It’s a very positive
business and so uplifting for me.”
DeVries insists on the exterior of her building staying
spotless. She has planted flowers, cleared away garbage
and regularly power washes the building. She’s hoping to
set a good example for other merchants downtown.
On Orange Avenue west of downtown, Stan and Jean
Synkoski have spent four years and at least $500,000 on
meticulously restoring the old Post Office building into
the stylish Art Deco 500 Orange event venue.
The space, which can accommodate 250 guests and is
available for weddings, anniversaries, fundraisers and
corporate events, is housed in a 1935 building built by
the Works Progress Administration at the height of the
The Economic Development
Council of St. Lucie County
estimates the new development
will have an economic impact of
more than $20 million a year and
provide hundreds of new jobs.
Steve Fogle, of Whirled Inc at 129 N. Second St., opened his
gift, wine and art gallery one year before COVID-19 struck.
“I’ve been fighting it ever since,” he noted ruefully. “It’s been
a battle to get customers inside the store.”
Fogle is concerned about the omicron variant of the virus.
“If customers stop going out, we might have no choice but to
close,” Fogle said. “We did have a great Christmas and, so far,
a good season. We’ve had a lot of support from locals and outof
town visitors alike. So, I have my fingers crossed.”
Several other downtown merchants used the same phrase
to describe their hopes for the future. There are a lot of fingers
being crossed on Second Street and beyond.