After 97 years the University Club will now become Eola View, a venue open to the public in downtown on the corner of Central and Lake Eola.
We stopped in to meet with Maya Valdivia, Co-Founder and Executive Director at Eola View, to find out what’s changing and when they’re opening.
Maya and her husband, James Ekbatani, came up with the idea to start Eola View as a venue to incorporate local vendors, local artists and promote any type of events such as corporate events, weddings, birthdays and get togethers.
Both Maya and James wanted to change the direction of the old University Club that had been membership-only since its opening in 1926. While the club holds a long history in Orlando, its past doesn’t represent the inclusivity that is very much a part of the culture of who we are today.
When Maya and James took over in October they knew they wanted to find ways to support local artists and be a place where they can display their art. As we walked through the venue we met Alejandra Silva whose art can be seen in the video at the top of this story. Maya believes strongly in helping and supporting others. By opening the door to local artists, vendors and supporting the people of Orlando, she believes it will give our city a better economy.
“I’m a big believer that we have to help each other. We have to support each other. You know opening the door for the local artist, first it will give us the economy that we all look for, supporting our own people here, and secondly I think it's beautiful that we can all work together and come here all the time to see different artists and mingle with people from the city and communicate with others and create different incentives for others.” - Maya
With Eola View being in the heart of downtown Orlando, they believe it's a great asset for the city, for the people that work in the area.
Maya grew up in Venezuela before coming to Orlando to attend school 28 years ago. For the last 12 years Maya has worked downtown and has watched the area grow. She loves everything about the city and where it's going and hopes to play a part in its future with Eola View.
The name Eola View comes from the plans the city has to take down the building kitty corner to them which will give people inside Eola View a straight view of Lake Eola. The view is seen from multiple rooms inside the old University Club with the best view coming from the outdoor terrace, a spot Maya and James see being utilized for social and holiday events, like 4th of July.
Eola View is set to open November 28th with their official ribbon cutting ceremony taking place from 2:00-3:00pm.