Modera Central is the most recent downtown Orlando tower lined up for approval from the city. Developer Mill Creek Residential Trust LLC is going before the city's Municipal Planning Board Tuesday requesting to build a 26-story, mixed-use tower on the site of the University Club at 150 E. Central Blvd.
Modera's developer is requesting permission to build 394 multi-family residential units, 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, a 19,500 square-foot rebuild of the University Club, as well as 630 parking spaces in an eight-level garage on the site that is bordered by Rosalind Ave. on the East, E. Pine Street on the South, and E. Central Blvd. on the north.
The developer is asking for a density of 318 units on the 1.24-acre parcel at 150 E. Central Blvd, a bonus of 146 above what is allowed now, according to city documents.
Dean Grandin, city planning division manager, said the bonus system was developed to incentivize developers to add extras to developments, such as building mixed-use buildings and adding public art or special design elements. Grandin calls the word "bonus" a misnomer because over time the city has added a lot of what used to be extras as requirements into code anyway.
City staff is recommending approval, saying that the project is consistent with the Community Redevelopment Agency Plan 2015 update that calls for buildings that reflect a unique identity to downtown areas and adds a number of other sought-after features such as art and culture, distinctive architecture, gardens and a signature skyline, among a long list of other desireable traits.
The existing 25,552-square-foot University Club building dates to 1960. In June 2005, at the height of the building boom, the Municipal Planning Board recommended an even taller building, a 37-story mixed-use building in the Tradition Towers Master Plan. That plan allowed for 55,870 square feet of office space, 17,923 square feet of retail and 308 multi-family units. Office space is missing in a lot of current tower plans in downtown as demand has fallen.
Two years later, in late 2007, as the real estate crash began to reveal itself, the Master Planning Board approved an amendment to earlier master plan to decrease the number of residential units from 308 to 156 and include a 280-room hotel. The current developer asked for a courtesy review of the latest plan in June.
The Municipal Planning Board is scheduled to review the request on Tuesday, July 21. Then it will move to the City Council for a vote.