By George White
The heart-pumping, full-blast audio-visual experience of Mango’s Tropical Café Orlando has come from Miami’s South Beach to ignite International Drive as an entertainment destination for both tourists and locals.
Mango’s Tropical Café Orlando’s 50,000 square feet nightclub, built by renovating and expanding a former TGI Friday’s, is based on “the great rooms of yesteryear: The Tropicana in Havana or The Cotton Club,’’ said developer and owner Joshua Wallack. He and other project leaders in early August toured the job site with the project at about 80 percent complete, enough to get a sense of the multi-level nightclub with stages and bars soon to be filled with colorful dancers and musicians.
“It’s full immersion in a world-class nightlife that you would find in Vegas and New York, but there’s nothing like this in Orlando. The whole set up is unbelievable. The power room back there looks like the flux capacitor,’’ Wallack said. In addition to a $4 million audio-visual package that includes a video wall, neon lights, lasers, 3-D projection, and smoke machines, Mango’s Tropical Café Orlando will have point-of-sale ordering and extensive fire, safety and security systems throughout.
Making It Come To Life
It takes more than 65 miles of low-voltage cabling to make that complex vision come to life. It was all installed by SENA-TECH under the leadership of owner and President Steven Terry.
“Cabling an existing structure for the newest cutting-edge technology through several revisions was a challenge Terry had the experience to take on,” said Rick Wilson, director of project and development services for CNL Commercial Real Estate. Located in Indian Harbour Beach, SENA-TECH, now in its 10th year, specializes in Siemon cabling for security camera and closed- circuit TV installation, audio/visual equipment, access control and other purposes.
“It takes somebody to understand, not just what they do, but what the other trades do as well. You can’t just pull in a guy who doesn’t know all those components that go into a project. They run the cable but they have to understand how everything works and tie it together. You’ve got to have somebody that has the knowledge to be able to lead the process, who can help coordinate all those trades so when you hit the switch, everything turns on,” Wilson said.
Making an Icon Bigger & Better
And what will turn on at Mango’s Tropical Café Orlando will be quite impressive, carrying on the successful high-energy heritage that became a South Beach mainstay, but with the newest technologies and nearly three times the size.
“We’ve imagined a massive space here. We’ll have a DJ, a 12-piece Latin band and incredible Art Deco steps. Whatever show they are performing they can take it to the floor. I think that’s what will really be a memorable moment, when Grandma dances with one of the pretty girls from Mango’s,” Wallack said.
Mango’s Tropical Café in South Beach, at 20,000 square-feet, originally opened in 1991 as a laid-back Rock and Reggae bar. Over time it has evolved with Miami’s diversity to include Afro-Latin jazz, salsa, merengue and other musical flavors. Live bands and choreographed dance shows are continuous throughout the club, both day and night, with the performances often compared to some of the world’s most renowned South American and Caribbean carnivals.
Like the original location, Orlando also will feature separate themed party rooms, including the Vodou Room and Mojito Room. Some party rooms will open onto outdoor decks, and others will lead to a hideaway lounge for A-list celebrities.
Only the Beginning
“The opening of the Orlando Eye helped prompt the location choice for Mango’s Tropical Café Orlando,” Wallack said. But it’s just the start. Mango’s will be the centerpiece of an exciting new Orlando tourist and locals destination to also include other parts of Wallack’s interests in the area – a seven-story parking garage with a fine dining restaurant on top and Skyplex, a nearly 700-foot structure with a vertical rollercoaster around it.
“The opening of Mango’s just changes things. The Orlando Eye was a game changer but it was salt that needed pepper, the peanut butter that needed jelly. Orlando Eye boiled it but we’re (Mango’s) going to be the powder keg that will blow this place up,” said Wallack.
And, in its critical role, SENA-TECH with its coordination and installation of miles of low-voltage electrical cabling is helping provide the “fuse” for all the magic to come to life.
“After meeting with the owners, they knew what they wanted to do and we were able to point them in the right direction to be able to achieve their vision. This place is definitely going to be a full experience,” Terry said.