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New downtown tower plan near Lake Eola adds more height, apartments

New downtown tower plan near Lake Eola adds more height, apartments
Conor Capital initially proposed a hotel to anchor the tower at 315 N. Magnolia Ave. but switched plans to do 232 apartments instead. The new design is taller at 26 stories. (Baker Barrios)

Fort Myers-based Conor Acquisitions goes before two Orlando boards this week seeking approval for a 26-story mixed-use tower near Lake Eola that has undergone a complete redesign since the initial filing.

The project is at southeast corner of N. Magnolia and Palmetto avenues, and it would have 6,000 square feet of retail uses on the ground floor fronting mainly on Magnolia. The initial plan filed in January called for a 256-key Radisson Blu, with ample meeting space, including a ballroom and breakout areas, and an amenity deck and pool on the third level. The top six floors of the tower would have comprised 40 penthouse-style residential units.

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The developer, also known as Conor Capital, dropped plans for the “upper upscale” hotel in favor of 232 apartments and nearly 16,000 square feet of office space. Another big change is the addition of a 280-space parking, 5-level parking garage -- the hotel would have relied on off-site parking at an adjacent garage. The tower, designed by Baker Barrios, went from being 19 stories to 26 stories. The amenities would include a lounge, fitness center and rooftop pool on the top floor.

The case goes to the city's Municipal Planning and Appearance Review boards this week.
The case goes to the city's Municipal Planning and Appearance Review boards this week. (Baker Barrios)

The Municipal Planning Board is set to consider the Master Plan filing Tuesday, which includes a request for a density bonus that would double the permitted number of residential units from 200 per acre to 400 per acre. The case is on the consent agenda, meaning it’s already received a recommendation for approval from staff. On Thursday, the city’s Appearance Review Board will conduct a courtesy review for the redesigned tower.

The staff report offered generally positive comments with a few areas that need to be addressed. Those include the “zig-zag” element along the base of the parking garage and extending vertically along the entire length of the building. The ARB staff also asked the development team to add some type of “skyline” architectural element on the roof “so the building is unique and easily identifiable in the downtown skyline during the day and night.”

Conor paid $2.8 million for the .58-acre property, having acquired the final parcel last November. The property, just south of SkyHouse Orlando apartments, is now home to a one-story office building. S&ME is the civil engineer.

The Magnolia project is the latest of several new downtown towers in the pipeline to incorporate a mix of residential, retail and office uses. The X Orlando tri-tower is the largest, with a proposed 900 apartments plus 120,000 square feet of retail-commercial -- including 35,000 square feet of co-working space. The proposed 41-story Zoi House, next to the Orange County Courthouse, would combine 300 apartments, along with ground-floor retail on Orange and Livingston and up to 140,000 square feet of office/commercial uses.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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