This video animation, which was presented to Orlando's Appearance Review Board in late 2018, shows how the tower relates to the county courthouse next door and bank tower across the street. (Baker Barrios)
Orlando’s Municipal Planning Board approved one downtown skyscraper on Tuesday but deferred action on a second tower proposal until September.
The MPB unanimously approved the new Master Plan for a 39-story mixed-use tower called “389 North” at the corner of N. Orange Avenue and E Livingston Street, next to the Orange County Courthouse. The zoning request for the proposed 24-story Monarch Tower at 322 E. Jackson St. was delayed at the request of the applicant.
The Weintraub Companies owns the 1-acre site directly across from the former Bank of America Financial Center. It was approved in late 2018 for a 41-story mixed-use tower called “Zoi House” that would have been the tallest building in Orlando. The new development program calls 10,000-square feet of retail space, 88,000 square feet of office space and 300 residential units atop a parking garage that can accommodate 539 vehicles.
Attorney Norman Nash of DSK Law Group represented three property owners along N. Magnolia Avenue who objected to the access plan, which has users entering the building from an existing alley that runs parallel to Orange Avenue. The current alley is 15-feet wide, and the developer is widening it to 24 feet to accommodate the 2-way traffic.
Nash questioned the traffic study, saying the projections for AM and PM peak-hour trips was unrealistic. The study projected both at less than 60 trips per hour. “And it just seems that with 300 dwelling units alone, that will generate more peak hour trips. And not to mention all the workers coming and going from the 98,000 or so square feet of office and retail property,” he said.
But Lowndes shareholder Becky Wilson, speaking for the developer, said one reason for the low numbers is the project’s proximity to the Lynx Central Station and SunRail, a block away, and the expectation that many residents would walk to work. The access plan was conceived to accommodate the city’s request to expand the alley and make it 2-way, she added, noting that the developer tried for two years to get an agreement with the neighboring property owners, but was not successful.
“One of the other things we also explored to help resolve the issues with the neighbors with an additional curb cut out on Orange Avenue, and the city objected to that because, as you know, they’re trying to keep Orange Avenue curb cut free so that you have a better pedestrian experience and connection through there,” she said.
The meeting minutes now head to City Council for final approval.
The 389 North tower is one of several high-rise projects currently in the pipeline for Orlando’s Central Business District.
The Monarch tower, proposed by The Jaymore Group, would be a 24-story mixed-use tower near the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts. The development plan calls for a luxury apartment community and full-service lifestyle hotel with shared amenities and services. The initial concept allows for up to 380 rental apartments. The case was moved to the September MPB agenda.
Summa Development Group has filed plans with the city to build a new mixed-use skyscraper that would bring the first 5-star hotel to Orlando’s Central Business District by late 2023. The project at 319 E. Church St. would include 129 branded residences – a combination of 102 condominiums and 27 penthouse units spread among the 14 upper floors. The building would have its own dog park. The submitted plans call for a 228-key luxury convention hotel with more than 60,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space on three floors and a Sky Club on the 33rd floor with a pool and outdoor dining.
Church Street Plaza tower 2 by Lincoln Property Services won master plan approval in 2019. The 32-story tower is entitled for 209 hotel rooms and nearly 60,000 square feet of ballroom and meeting space. It also will have 19 residential units, that could potentially be converted to hotel rooms, and 210,5000 square feet of office space.
The $1.1 billion Vertical Medical City also won approval last year from the city for the 444-foot mixed-use tower. The project in the city’s North Quarter District is entitled for 350,000 square feet of Class A medical office space, 955 senior living residential units and a rooftop atrium with its own urban farm.