Orlando to offer two downtown parcels for affordable housing redevelopment

Bob Moser
GrowthSpotter

The city of Orlando is preparing to offer two pad-ready sites next week in downtown's west side for developers to build mixed-income affordable housing, with a special focus placed on making units available for the homeless. 

The city acquired seven foreclosed properties from FannieMae back in 2015 in the downtown neighborhoods of Washington Shores and Mercy Drive. 

Since then, five of those have been sold and are in varied stages of affordable housing redevelopment, including LIFT Orlando's Pendana at West Lakes (200-unit Phase 1), Ability Housing's Village on Mercy where a groundbreaking was held in early April (180 units, with half reserved for the homeless), and a 58-unit property being thoroughly renovated by The Hope Church. 

Two remaining properties that did not draw compelling bids in 2015 were the former Peppertree Shores apartments at 1014 Mercy Drive (3.28 acres) and the former Peppertree Circle at 1471 Mercy Drive (2.29 acres). The city paid more than $993,300 combined for the two, and invested more in demolishing their buildings to offer a clean slate. 

Orlando's Real Estate Management Division now wants to sell those sites to developers interested in building mixed-income affordable housing that will serve low- and moderate-income households. 

"We believe these two are now ready for redevelopment," Economic Development Director Brooke Bonnett told GrowthSpotter. "We had also begun the Mercy Drive Vision planning effort in (early 2017), so we wanted to conclude that process with the community prior to seeking new developers. That wrapped up in February." 

Multifamily developers can submit proposals for the Mercy Drive parcels beginning on Monday through May 31 with the Real Estate Management Division.

The city would prefer to see proposals include permanent supportive housing for the homeless, which should have support services particularly for people with disabilities who are experiencing homelessness.

No minimum price per square foot has been set for the land. While the city would like to recoup much of its investment in the sites, the broader goal of increasing Orlando's inventory of affordable housing is the priority, Bonnett said. 

City impact fee credits totaling $193,860 for Peppertree Circle and $485,837 for Peppertree Shores can be rolled over to new ownership. 

Both sites have future land use of Residential-Medium. Peppertree Shores' unit count could possibly be increased up to 98 units and Peppertree Circle up to 69, based on flexibility in the development code. 

Minimum qualifications for offers include: evidence of past success in developing affordable housing projects, commitment to meet affordable housing needs of the community, evidence of the financing necessary to complete the project in a timely manner, and examples of relationships with organizations that can manage the permanent supportive housing component for homeless and special-needs tenants. 

Project design and architecture should complement and enhance the surrounding neighborhoods, and feature energy efficiency standards.

Aside from city-owned property on Mercy Drive, further housing investment is anticipated there for the 256-unit Windsor Cove apartments. That Section-8 apartment complex is under contract for purchase by its Cleveland-based manager, which said last November it's planning to invest $15 million for renovations. 

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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