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Orlando to offer 6 acres in Parramore for mixed-income redevelopment

In this photo from April 2014, a bicyclist passes vacant land where a housing development was supposed to be built at Parramore Avenue and Conley Street.
In this photo from April 2014, a bicyclist passes vacant land where a housing development was supposed to be built at Parramore Avenue and Conley Street.(Red Huber / Orlando Sentinel)

Orlando city government will soon open neighboring properties totaling 6.06 acres in the Parramore neighborhood for mixed-income residential redevelopment, with the caveat that a developer combines affordable housing, market rate units and the city's first dedicated apartments for the chronically homeless.

Full details with submission requirements will be made public on Nov. 5, but the city's Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) envisions a mixed income development with family-oriented housing and communal open spaces, along with potential ground-floor retail along Parramore Avenue to aid in the neighborhood's revitalization.

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"The city has done a big job of investing in Parramore. We're underway with the new Orlando Police headquarters in the district, we've broken ground on a new fire station, and the Orlando City Soccer stadium is in pre-construction," Walter Hawkins, Orlando's director of urban development, told GrowthSpotter Thursday.

"This new residential fits into the strategy Mayor Buddy Dyer has put in place for Parramore," he continued. "Parramore is primarily a low-income community, and those communities aren't successful in the long-term when that is all you have. Mixing market rate and affordable housing will help bring a balance to the area."

The city and CRA, which collectively own the properties, are seeking a highly experienced and proven development team to design, finance, build and manage this as a single planned development. The land is located on the northwest, southwest and southeast corners of Parramore Avenue and Conley Street, west of Downtown Orlando and just a few blocks south of the future soccer stadium.

The bulk of the property includes 5.07 acres formerly known as Parramore Village, which the CRA took control of in 2014 after former developer Hanton Walters, of Nu Beginnings Parramore Village Development LLC, failed to see through a project for more than 70 mixed-income houses and townhomes.

The city and CRA now envision a development with at least 25 percent of the units set aside for affordable housing, 70 percent of the units offered at market rate, and 5 percent reserved as permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless.

Higher percentages of affordable housing units will be considered by the CRA, and homeownership options will be encouraged, but not required due to current market conditions.

A conceptual site plan for the property developed by the city (image above) offers a combination of apartment flats and townhomes totaling 211 units in two-, three- and four-story buildings.

"When this site first came available we were looking at single family homes, but as the market has changed we realized the rental market for apartments and townhomes is where the growth is now," Hawkins said.

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The city and CRA hope to see development proposals that adhere to New Urbanism planning principles, and criteria described in the city's Growth Management Plan, the CRA Downtown Redevelopment Area Plan, and the Parramore Comprehensive Neighborhood Plan. After Nov. 5, deadline for proposals is Dec. 1.

Redevelopment proposals must show 25 percent or more of the units reserved for low and moderate income households, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) income guidelines for 2015.

Another 5 percent for permanent supportive housing is required, which will be managed by a system of case workers and housing specialists in the area that help coordinate housing solutions for Orlando's chronically homeless.

Architecture and materials used must complement the city's surrounding neighborhoods, while design must meet Orlando's Traditional City overlay requirements. A portion of the units must be deemed "accessible" under ADA requirements.

The project's design must achieve LEED Silver certification, or another green building designation accepted by Orlando's CRA, with a high emphasis on energy and water efficiency, and renewable energy features encouraged.

Funding through rental subsidies or housing vouchers will be available for the 5 percent of units reserved as permanent supportive housing.

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Incentives for the affordable housing should be available to developers via subsidies for construction, sewer, transportation and school impact fee credits, low interest loans and other forms of financing available through county and federal sources.

The 1.2-square-mile Parramore neighborhood's boundaries are defined by Orange Blossom Trail to the west, Gore Street to the south, W. Colonial Drive to the north and Huey Avenue to the east. The last U.S. Census showed just over 5,000 residents in the area, Hawkins said.

"We want to encourage residential redevelopment and get more interest for people to relocate to Parramore and build population density there, because it has lost population through the years," he said. "As we bring more residential options, other industries will be attracted by that."

Editor's Note: This story was updated on Oct. 29, when the City of Orlando decided to change the release date for submission requirements to Nov. 5 from Nov. 2, to allow for additional time after Thanksgiving weekend. 

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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