A New York firm that owns several properties in Central Florida, including Disney’s Celebration Town Center, has filed plans for a 16-story residential tower in downtown Orlando just blocks from Lake Eola.
Lexin Capital is under contract to buy the 1.15-acre tract at 550 Mariposa St. that was intended to be the second phase of a condo project called Eola Place. Founder Metin Negrin told GrowthSpotter the plan now is to build rental apartments with ground-floor retail utilizing the same entitlements that were already approved in the previous planned development.
“We decided to go with what’s already approved so as not to lose time,” Negrin said. “I’m very excited. It’s a great spot — I’m surprised it hasn’t been built before. So, hopefully, we can bring it together.”
Lexin recently filed a new Master Plan for an L-shaped building next to the existing 9-story Jackson Condominiums and across from the recently completed Camden Lake Eola apartments. The development plan calls for 223 residential units, a parking garage that can accommodate 425 vehicles and close to 20,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor. That includes a 2,362-square-foot space at the corner of South Osceola and Mariposa streets that would qualify as “Active Commercial.”
Negrin said the commercial space could be a restaurant or retail space. The ground-level floorplan creates three district leasable spaces, which are separated by the apartment building lobby and leasing office. “We split it into two because I want to make the entrance of the apartment a nice and good size,” he said. “And we wanted to put the elevators also in the center and not on the side. So I was okay with splitting the commercial into two. The commercial could be retail, it could even be an office.”
The initial focus will be on the residential side, and it’s designed to accommodate renter demands for more square footage and work-from-home set-ups. The indoor amenity space will include a co-working space and the apartment floorplans offer flexible space.
“A lot of our units, I asked them to design with a den so we have one-bedrooms with dens and two-bedroom with dens. So you don’t have to rent a two-bedroom if you’re alone. You can rent a one-bedroom with a den and have a little bit of separation from your typical gym or living room.”
The project will offer a mix of apartment sizes with about 30% of the units coming with a den or flex space. The unit breakdown is 63 one-bedroom, 27 one-bedroom w/den, 53 two-bedroom, 42 two-bedroom w/den, and 38 three-bedroom units.
Negrin also worked closely with lead architect Wayne Dunkelberger from Baker Barrios on the exterior design to create a distinctive building that felt modern and urban, and wouldn’t look like anything else in downtown Orlando.
He showed the team examples of architecture he liked from other cities so they could use it as inspiration. Kimley-Horn is the civil engineer, and Lowndes is providing legal representation. The city’s Appearance Review Board will provide a courtesy review at its May meeting.
In his project narrative, Dunkelberger said the overall design considers the surrounding context, tying into key existing buildings architecturally, while embracing contemporary articulation to create a standout property that will be aesthetically pleasing for years to come.
The specific architectural articulation divides the facades into rhythms between glazing, screening, and frames, he added. There is an overall pattern of “3s” that is shown in various ways on all elevations. The most striking way this is shown is found in the white box framing that interlock into the glazing of the building. These create a contemporary way of breaking down the mass and are the featured elements that will define the project architecturally for the public.
“So we were trying I was trying to be a little different,” Negrin said. “And I think it turned out very nice. I really liked the look — the boxy and the lines and concrete and stuff on the exterior.”
The main amenities would extend from the 12th floor to the roof of the parking garage. It includes a 2-story indoor space of nearly 9,000 square feet and a rooftop pool with shaded lounge areas and summer kitchen.
The project is one block east of the proposed 13-story Mariposa Grove mixed-use tower. That project was seeking Low Income Housing Tax Credits to make three-quarters of it apartment homes affordable for low-income and very-low-income seniors. It has been hung up in litigation from the residents of the neighboring Star Tower condominium.
Lexin has had a presence in Central Florida since 2004, when it purchased 21 mixed-use buildings in Celebration Town Center. More recently, the firm has acquired The Jamison apartments in Kissimmee and Nona Commons, a neighborhood center near Medical City.