Multi-Family Residential Developments

Camden files plans for new apartments on site of former I-Drive motel

The 5-story Camden Universal apartment building would abut Universal's Endless Summer Resort.

The nation’s largest owner and operator of multifamily housing has targeted Orlando’s I-Drive corridor for its next apartment complex.

A Camden Property Trust affiliate acquired portions of the long-vacant and partially demolished I-Drive Grande Resort, a 1970s-era motel next to Universal’s Endless Summer Resort, last year for $16 million and filed plans recently for a new 325-unit apartment community called Camden Universal on 5 acres of the site. The developer is also seeking to create a 1.4-acre outparcel for retail development fronting on Kirkman.


The motel property encompasses 8.9 acres, but the submitted plan does not include the southernmost 2.5 acres of the parcel that extends to Precision Drive.

The property currently has AC-3 zoning and is part of the I-Drive North Special Plan, which allows a minimum density of 30 units per acre and a maximum of 200. The zoning allows for up to 200 feet in building height. The Camden project would be 5-stories tall, or 60 feet, and the developer is seeking a density of 65 units per acre. The building is designed so the parking garage faces the parking garage at Universal’s Dockside Inn & Suites to the west and residential units wrap the structure on three sides.

The 325-unit Camden Universal would be built on a 5-acre portion of the former I-Drive Grand Resort. Shown in red is the 1.4 acre retail outparcel. In yellow is the 2.5 acres of the hotel that was retained by the seller.

The dramatic black and white building, designed by Baker Barrios, would have an integrated, 5-level parking garage with spaces for 529 vehicles and a courtyard where the pool amenities will be located. The clubhouse amenity is allocated 10,750 square feet.

The development matrix calls for a mix of apartment sizes and floorplans in a range of sizes: studios (55); one-bedroom units (145); two-bedroom units (112) and three-bedroom units with 1,420 square feet of living space and a 150-square-foot balcony (5).

Camden owns interests in and operates 171 properties containing 58,425 apartment homes across the United States. Upon completion of 5 properties currently under development, the Company’s portfolio will increase to 60,267 apartment homes in 176 properties. Orlando is the eighth-largest market in the Camden portfolio, with a total of 11 communities comprising 3,954 units. Most recently, the company delivered the $125 million Camden Lake Eola, a 365-unit community in downtown Orlando, in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Camden completed the $125 million Camden Lake Eola apartments in in downtown Orlando in late 2021.

Construction of Universal’s new Epic Universe theme park and expansion of the Orange County Convention Center have drawn a slew of new luxury residential projects to the I-Drive tourism corridor, including Triton Cay Orlando, a 580-unit complex on Lakehurst Drive that was co-developed by Edwards Communities and Silver Hills Development. The former Republic Square shopping center on Universal Boulevard, was demolished to make way for 350 apartments by Legacy Partners Residential.

Atlanta-based Del American Real Estate Group submitted a plan for 329 units as part of luxury, mixed-use tower called SLX Orlando on the site of the former M Hotel just north of Carrier Drive.

And Bainbridge Companies, a South Florida-based luxury multifamily developer has approved plans to build a 397-unit community on the site of the former Mystery Fun House at 5767 Major Blvd., between S. Kirkman Road and Interstate 4. The same developer recently submitted an updated master plan for Bainbridge Universal, a 5-story apartment community at 7575 Universal Blvd. with 367 units. The project was previously approved for 330 units.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The developer is not seeking a waiver for density. An earlier version of the article misstated the permitted density under the A-3 zoning.

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