UPDATED: JANUARY 31, 2018 10:35 AM — The Walt Disney Company is pushing forward development of more than 1,300 student apartments for its college intern program on Flamingo Crossings property, filing plans Wednesday morning with Orange County.
The Development Plan focuses on 53 acres of former citrus grove land at 13325 Flamingo Crossings Blvd., north of Orange Lake Country Club property and Lake Britt, south of Western Way and west of S.R. 429.
Disney affiliate Flamingo Crossings LLC is proposing 1,320 apartments across that acreage, which can include studio units as small as 350 square feet. A 5.03-acre commercial tract is reserved in the northeast corner, which is nearest to the retail town center that Disney said in August it would begin construction on this year.
No breakdown of unit sizes or bedrooms per unit was provided on the DP, and officials with Disney did not respond to requests for comment. Disney hires an estimated 12,000 students annually for its internship program, the Orlando Sentinel reported in 2015.
With entry near the middle of the parcel off of Flamingo Crossings Boulevard, the front of the housing complex would feature a large two-story community center building, multiple sport courts, two swimming pool areas and 20 four-story apartment buildings.
More than half of the property will be covered by 2,650 surface parking spaces and stormwater retention, with the multifamily buildings only projected to cover 14.32 acres.
Disney began setting the stage for development of this property back in 2015, when a Comprehensive Plan amendment was initiated.
A Land Use Plan filing followed in April 2016, which set a framework for 1,300 student apartments and 150,000 square feet of commercial for 154 acres on the east and west sides of Flamingo Crossings Boulevard. Wednesday's new DP only focuses on the multifamily segment.
The 93-acre parcel west of the boulevard includes 33 wetland acres, which will be preserved and potentially featured as waterfront for future retail and dining outlets.
The land was de-annexed from the Reedy Creek Improvement District into Orange County, and an interlocal agreement between RCID and the county was adopted concurrently with the comp plan amendment in late June 2016.
One of the reasons Disney de-annexed the property from RCID into the county is because RCID's charter doesn't have a provision to allow full-time housing. So by moving to the county they maintain flexibility in the future to convert that intern housing to standard apartment rentals.
Directly north of the student housing site, Disney plans to maintain ownership of and develop roughly 237,000 square feet of retail space in the center of its Flamingo Crossings district, likely to be value-oriented and fast casual dining options, a lead executive told GrowthSpotter at last August's ICSC Florida Conference & Deal Making in Orlando.