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Banyan Development Group modifies plan to build an affordable housing project near the Central Florida Fair

Banyan Development Group is not giving up on plans to build an affordable housing complex near the Central Florida Fairgrounds, west of downtown Orlando.

According to a recently submitted Preliminary Review Item, the developer is drawing up new plans for a five-building,156-unit rent-restricted community at 817 Swiss Lane. The latest concept plan is less dense than its previous proposed project in 2016, which called for two adjacent affordable housing communities with a total of 224 low-income housing multifamily units.

Banyan Development Group is under contract with the property owner, attorney Craig Pearlman, to purchase about 11.5 acres north of West Colonial Drive and west of BMX Lane.

The property is under contract for a little more than $2.68 million, according to a recorded Purchase and Sale Agreement in Orange County.

Documents show the deal is contingent on scoring the necessary zoning and government approvals to permit the construction, completion, and operations of a multifamily residential project with a density of “no less than 205 dwelling units.”

According to the agreement, the developer is preparing to send applications to Florida Housing Finance Corporation for Low Income Housing Tax Credit financing to help fund the project.

It’s typical around this time of year for affordable housing developers to begin applying for the competitive 9% LIHTC housing credits from the Florida Housing Corporation, which would help finance the construction of affordable rental housing.

Plans show the project, dubbed Barnett Villas, would consist of 90 one-bedroom units; 84 two-bedroom units and 12 three-bedroom units. Orlando-based DRMP Inc. is the civil engineer assisting in the project.

Banyan Development Group, was formed in 2016 by a partnership between affordable housing consultants Jeff and Alex Kiss of Winter Park-based Kiss & Company and multifamily owner-operators Lou Vogt and Scott Zimmerman of Orlando’s AGPM LLC.

The developer has several projects in the pipeline throughout Central Florida. In the City of Orlando, Banyan Development Group is planning to build a 138-unit affordable senior housing community near the Packing District called Fern Grove, and a 13 story tower in downtown Orlando that will reserve more than 75 percent of its 138 units for low-income and very low-income households called Mariposa Groves.

The projects fall in line with Orange County’s Housing For All plan adopted by Mayor Jerry Demings, which looks to add 11,000 new affordable housing units to Orange County within the next 10 years.

Banyan Development Group has not yet purchased either development site. Attempts to reach a representative with the company and AGPM were unsuccessful.

Around the 2000s, AGPM developed the 288-unit West Pointe Villas affordable housing community in Winter Garden, the 240-unit Waterford Pointe Apartments in Orlando and the Osprey Ridge Apartments in Clermont. The communities have since been bought by the national REIT Starwood Property Trust.

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