Lake Mary-based DIX Developments is prepping to submit plans this coming week for a 12-story mixed-use tower in Thornton Park at the corner of Church Street and South Eola Drive.
CEO James Dicks held his final pre-application meeting with Orlando city planners in December. The site already has Planned Development zoning, but it was approved for a condo project. DIX will be seeking a density and intensity bonuses for the project, which features 3,800 square feet of ground-level retail uses, 13,750 square feet of office/co-working space and 7 stories of residential micro apartments totaling 126 units.
Dicks told GrowthSpotter he believes the Orlando market is ripe for microunit product.
“For us, this isn’t just one building. It’s more of a business,” he said. “We plan on doing more of these over the next 24 months in this market and across Florida. We’re already looking at the Tampa market, downtown St. Pete, Charlotte and Nashville.”
The ground level would house a signature restaurant and a separate coffee shop or cafe with grab-and-go prepared food items.
The size of the individual units would vary from 350 to 550 square feet, averaging just over 400 square feet. The units have fully functional kitchens with granite counter tops, stainless appliances and washer and dryers. The units are designed with space saving features including pull-down beds, tables and desks that fold, and appliances that are hidden or compact.
The projected rental rate is $3 per square foot, or $1,200 for a 400-square-foot apartment.
Dicks said the units would have an industrial-loft vibe, with epoxy floors, exposed ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. Second-floor and upper level corner units will be designed with spacious balconies and will rent for a premium. Studio 407 is the project architect.
The target customers are single Millennials with relatively lucrative jobs in the city. These are the residents who are willing to trade square footage for a vibrant, convenient location; who live alone and haven’t yet accumulated many possessions; who can afford the moderately high rent costs; and who spend the majority of time at work or socializing outside of their apartment.
“Really, the concept is a live-work-play mentality," Dicks said. “The entire roof is an amenity deck. It has two pools,” Dicks said. “We’ll have a lot of social spaces for people to plug in, so you don’t have to be inside your apartment.”
The amenity package also will include rooftop yoga classes, grilling areas and a fitness center a virtual spinning studio and multipurpose exercise area. Tenants can even schedule weekly cleaning services.
The project would qualify for a reduced parking requirement, so Dicks said the project would have several EV charging stations, a designated are for ride-sharing services and spaces for ZipCar. The building would feature a controlled access system for enhanced security, and units would have smart locks.
Dicks said he expects to break ground within 12-14 months. In the meantime, the company will convert the existing law office into a coworking space with month-to-month leases so it can generate revenue during the permitting and design stage.