Florida Hospital plans solar-powered parking garage expansion in Health Village

Bob Moser
GrowthSpotter

Florida Hospital is preparing to expand one of the parking garages at its downtown Orlando Health Village campus by more than double, and may make the building its first in Florida to have a roof lined with solar panels. 

Located along what is now the southern half of McRae Avenue, the 1.229-acre expansion site lies directly south of E. Rollins Street and the existing McRae Parking Garage (1,254 spaces), with Orange Avenue to the west, the SunRail Florida Hospital station to its east and Princeton Street due south.

Florida Hospital applied last week with the city of Orlando for Final Site Plan approval for expansion of the McRae garage. The seven-story addition would have 1,378 spaces, more than doubling capacity for the McRae garage. 

Development of the 172-acre Health Village campus has been growing with medical office space, residential, a hotel, retail, dining and more. Florida Hospital's formula for parking needs indicate the garage expansion is due to accommodate future growth, Dennis Beatty, assistant vice president for facility planning and support operations, told GrowthSpotter on Wednesday.

The expansion will be built on property owned by Florida Hospital that includes three buildings that are now vacant. 

Final design criteria are under review by city staff with construction plan review to follow. Groundbreaking is expected to start by year's end with a construction duration of 12 months, Beatty said. 

The garage design gives Florida Hospital the option to apply solar panels on the roof, which it plans to include as of now.

Design-build contractor FINFROCK Design, Inc. can add connections to the roof deck to allow it to absorb extra lateral wind loads, protecting a solar panel array in the case of a hurricane. That prep for solar would add less than 1 percent to the cost of most garage construction projects, per the company.

Environmental investment is part of the company's "CREATION Health" guiding principles, and four years ago Florida Hospital reduced the McRae garage's power consumption by 60 percent through changing out all the light bulbs to LEDs, Beatty said. 

This garage would be the first building in Florida where the company applies solar panels. Placing them on a building's roof can also protect the structure from UV damage, he added. 

Florida Hospital will apply for the abandonment of McRae Avenue from its northern end to the southern end of the expansion. 

Directly west, 1.568 acres along Orange Avenue with multiple single-story buildings are earmarked on the garage expansion plan as "Lot 2" for unspecified future development. 

Attorneys with GrayRobinson are leading the project through city review, and Donald W. McIntosh Associates is civil engineer.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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