Developer refines design for planned downtown apartment tower

Tennessee-based Mid America Apartment Communities (MAA) has added a 10th floor and tweaked the design for a proposed 327-unit apartment tower just south of the Bank of America tower in downtown Orlando.

The initial Master Plan (MP) filed in August was for nine stories. Adding a 10th floor means the roof would align with the adjacent section of BoA tower. The plan also provides more details about the finish materials and proposed amenities for the project, including a pool and lounge on the roof of the 9-story parking garage.

The apartments would be built around a 9,223-square-foot courtyard. The ground floor would contain the rest of the amenities, including a fitness center, bike storage room and pet spa -- but no retail.

The city's building code and design guidelines for the Central Business District requires that at least half of the street-frontage of the building allow for active commercial uses, including dining, retail and personal services.

There are some blocks downtown where the active uses are encouraged. On this block, it's mandatory, according to City Spokeswoman Jessica Garcia.

Finfrock Design Inc. proposes using a textured stone-like base along the ground floor exterior walls with metal canopies and balcony railings. The exterior walls would be painted in shades of white and gray. Kimley-Horn is the project engineer and landscape architect.

MAA hasn't named the project at the corner of N. Orange Avenue and Robinson Street. The 2-acre lot is owned by the Diocese of Orlando, which has been using it as a parking lot for the St. James Catholic Cathedral and chancery offices that lie directly southeast. 

The parking garage would be accessed from either Robinson or State Lane. It would have capacity for 676 spaces, which exceeds the minimum requirement by 152 spaces. The extra parking will be reserved for the church, according to city officials.

The MAA project, which is scheduled to go to Appearance Review Board and Municipal Planning Board this month, is one of three proposed residential towers now planned on vacant lots immediately surrounding the BoA tower. 

New York-based developer Property Markets Group (PMG) is awaiting the outcome of an appeal over its proposed  "X Orlando" tri-tower apartment development at 424 N. Orange Ave. PMG plans a 17-story tower with 262 apartments in Phase 1 -- plus 41,000 square feet of ground-floor retail/commercial and 663 spaces in a nine-floor garage. 

Miami-based MEC Development Associates wants to build a 41-story mixed-use tower across the street. It would be Orlando's tallest skyscraper. The "Zoi House" would have 25 floors of residential use, along with ground-floor retail and boutique office-commercial space. 

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