Plans for two small-scale luxury residential projects in downtown Orlando’s North Quarter district have morphed into a proposal to build a pair of 20-story high rise towers.
Orlando developer-architect Brian Ray had an approved master plan from City of Orlando to build a 15-unit multifamily building at the corner of N. Magnolia Avenue and Marks Street, while Elevation Development was pursuing permits for a Phil Kean-designed, 10-unit townhouse community next door at 110-114 Marks St.
In February, Ray’s investment partners, Soten Enterprises, bought the two Marks Street parcels for $350,000 to create a 4-parcel assemblage comprising nearly ¾-acre. The parcels fronting Magnolia have Activity Center 3 zoning, which allows high-rise towers. The two smaller parcels would need to be rezoned to AC-3 to achieve the maximum density and intensity.
“The density potential for those four properties is 296 units,” Ray said. “I’ve spoken with the city, and they seem comfortable with the idea of supporting a density bonus for a mixed-use tower with excellent architectural character.”
“We currently believe a hotel and multifamily play is most probable, but it’s not to say there couldn’t be another use that surprises us,” Ray said. “The ownership group is willing to do a traditional sale, or we will entertain doing a joint venture as co-developer where we bring the land in exchange for an ownership position.”
The tower would have views to the south of Downtown Orlando and of Lake Highland to the east. The proposed Vertical Medical City tower would be about a block to the west, and both support the city’s goal to extend its downtown core north toward the Health Village campus.
“The views will be absolutely stellar,” Ray said.
For the marketing materials, Ray included a conceptual rendering of a 19-story mixed-use tower with ground-floor dining and retail, 152 residential apartments and 102 hotel rooms.
“This is actually a design I did for a property in Denver, Colorado,” Ray said. “The Denver site was a 6-parcel assemblage, but the 4-parcel assemblage in Orlando is a larger site. My design concept is not included with the sale of the property; it’s just meant to show the level of development potential."
And that potential could be doubled. Soten Enterprises has also assembled five parcels across Marks Street that also have the zoning to allow for a 20-story tower.
“Our vision is to have a couple of high rise towers there,” Ray said. “The land across the street is not included in the sale, but it is available if a developer comes to us and says they want to do a two-tower project. That would be for sale or joint venture, as well.”