Mill Creek tweaks design for Modera apartments at Creative Village

Orlando's Creative Village DRC approved the design of Mill Creek Residential's Modera at Creative Village apartment building.

Nearly five months after filing its initial designs, Mill Creek Residential Trust has won approval from Orlando's Creative Village Development Review Committee for its 292-unit Art Moderne-inspired apartment building.

"The design team attempted to create an architecture with clean simple lines, rich in its massing, yet familiar in its proportions and clear definition of base, middle and top," lead architect Eric Liebmann explained.


Mill Creek has already won site plan approval for the 8-story mixed-use building, which includes approximately 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

The developer tweaked the building design to add decorative balcony railings and to raise the height of the ground-floor retail, shown here.

Liebmann, design principal for WDG Architecture, said the firm collaborated with city staff on numerous design changes aimed at enhancing the street-level experience and creating more visual interest. He said his approach was to design the building "within a single architectural vocabulary" indicative of the Art Moderne movement, which emphasizes strong horizontal lines with a white color palette and minimal use of secondary colors.


"Vertical elements are used as punctuation but remain subservient to horizontal elements," Leibmann wrote in his submission. A series of "origami-like" vertical piers that bisect the horizontal balconies provide that punctuation.

WDG added laser-cut, crisscross shaped balcony railings in rusted bronze to complement the silver metallic of the window and door frames. They and added more storefront windows on the ground floor and canopies to protect pedestrians.

This is the view looking south from Amelia Avenue.

The developer elected to use the same laser-cut panels to along the top of the retail and amenity areas to create a unique lattice effect. The decision won praise from CVDRC member J.P. Weesner for its shadow effects. "That's by far one of the coolest things I've seen and will create an awesome pedestrian experience," he said.

City Planner Doug Metzger said Mill Creek started with a solid design that improved with each revision as it moved through the approval process. Each version was "more cohesive and more finely detailed than the previous."

Eran Landry, vice president of development for Mill Creek, said the company's goal to create a building with a timeless style and modern touches. "We don't do cookie-cutter architecture," he said. Mills Creek expects to close on the property this fall and begin marketing the retail space at that time. Construction will take up to two years.

Landry said the amenity package will be similar to the offerings at its sister property, Modera Central at 125 E. Pine St.

The 68-acre Creative Village is an infill redevelopment project anchored by the new downtown campus for University of Central Florida and Valencia College, both set to open in August. Vertical construction is slated for completion this summer on the Creative Village campus' Phase 1 buildings, which include a 15-story student housing tower and UCF's five-story academic commons building.

Atlantic Housing Partners expects to deliver the first phase of its 256-unit Amelia Court mixed-income housing at the northeast corner of Amelia and Parramore Avenue in June.


Co-developers Ustler Development and The Allen Morris Company are building a 14-story, $108 million mixed-use tower at the corner of Amelia Street and Terry Avenue, across from the new college campuses.

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