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Downtown Orlando Developments

Next wave of development in Creative Village will include affordable housing

The very first residential project in Creative Village was the mixed-income Amelia Court apartment community. And now the same development team is regrouping for a follow-up that will be constructed right across the street.

Master developer Ustler Development, along with Atlantic Housing Partners and Banc of America CDC, has filed plans for The Beacon, a 194-unit apartment building slated for Parcel L at the southeast corner of Amelia Street and Parramore Avenue. The site across from the Parramore School is the current home of the Orlando Tennis Center, which is being relocated to The Packing District Park.

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Atlantic Housing Principal Scott Culp said the development program will mirror that of Amelia Court in that the apartments will be a mix of market rate and affordable units. The specific set-asides have not yet been determined. At Amelia Court, 40% of the units are rent-restricted for low-income or extremely low-income residents.

“The City of Orlando has committed to a grant to assist with the economic viability of the first phase of this planned multi-phase mixed income attainable workforce housing community,” Culp said. “The first phase has also received a preliminary allocation of Federal Tax Credits through (Florida Housing Finance Corp.) Additional resources are necessary to fulfill the vision established by CVD and the City.”

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Culp said they chose the name “Beacon” because of the prime location at the western entrance into Creative Village.

The front of the building will face Parramore Avenue and will be six stories, then it will step up to seven stories about 130 feet from the curb. Ustler said the terrace effect complies with design guidelines for the Creative Village master plan, which calls for increasing height and intensity toward the heart of the district. “As you get to the frontage on Parramore Avenue, a general building height of 75 feet was deemed appropriate,” he said. “At Creative Village, taller and more dense buildings are to the east, and then things ‘step down’ to the west. For The Beacon, as master developer we wanted to see appropriate urban scale while still adhering to the ‘step down’ effect.”

The apartments will be constructed in a double-donut design over a two-story parking garage. The plan calls for 9 studios, 91 one-bedroom units and 94 two-bedroom units with varying floorplans.

The leasing office will occupy the corner space at the intersection, while the rear of the building will back up to The Julian apartments. A club room and fitness center will activate the ground floor along the Parramore frontage, and the streetscape will be enhanced with new trees and furniture. The site plan by Slocum Platts does not show any live-work units or commercial space.

Culp said the project is still in the preliminary stage, but the initial design was governed by the guidelines of the Creative Village Master Plan. The specific parcel master plan and appearance review will go to the Creative Village DRC on Oct. 11.

On Aug. 30, the city dedicated Luminary Green Park, which marked the completion of the first development phase. The UCF and Valencia College campus opened in 2019 bringing about 8,000 students and staff to the area, where the Amway Arena once stood. Phase 1 also included the UnionWest student housing, The Julian Apartments, Modera at Creative Village and Electronic Arts.

The Beacon will be a part of Phase 2, which also includes a new office building, a Moxy hotel and a 26-story mixed-use residential tower. Ustler is partnering with The Allen Morris Company on those buildings, which will have a combined value of over $250 million. The buildings, all designed by Baker Barrios, will rise on lots that are east of the Luminary Green and south of the recently completed Modera Apartments. The co-developers already have full site plan approval and are expected to build the residential and office towers concurrently. Construction on the hotel would follow at a later date.

A second student housing tower south of the Beacon will add 600 more beds to the campus. UnionWest co-developer DEVEN Group will partner with Ustler for the second phase of student housing. Ustler said the project “will probably proceed in the next year or two, but we are not sure and nothing is certain as of now.”

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Also to be determined is the future adaptive reuse of the Bob Carr Theater, which will include keeping the brick and guts of the 95-year-old building that once hosted performances by Elvis Presley.

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


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