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Wendover and Gorman propose separate affordable housing projects on Lake Bumby in the OBT corridor (updated)

Wendover is proposing to build the 102-unit Durham Place Apartments project, while Gorman is seeking a PD zoning for a project that entails building 40 tiny homes and 36 multifamily units.
Wendover is proposing to build the 102-unit Durham Place Apartments project, while Gorman is seeking a PD zoning for a project that entails building 40 tiny homes and 36 multifamily units. (Orange County Property Appraiser/GrowthSpotter)

Wendover Housing Partners and Gorman & Company are planning separate affordable housing communities in the Orange Blossom Trail corridor in Orange County.

Recently submitted plans show Gorman is seeking to develop a rental community on Lake Bumby that’s made up of 36 multifamily units and 40 tiny home units.

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The current property owners are working with Avcon Inc.’s Richard Baldocchi to rezone 9.6 acres at 4893 S. Orange Blossom Trail from Commercial/Medium Density Residential to Planned Development in preparation for proposed plans.

Records show the property owners are linked to the family of Carol and Gerald Uranick, known for owning several adult-themed clubs in Orange County, including the former Booby Trap gentlemen’s club that was bought by the City of Winter Park and razed for code violations. The site is currently being transformed into an entertainment venue with tenants Axe Trap and Remedy Coffee And Buzz.

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The site along Orange Blossom Trail was once the location of the 14,000-square-foot Off The Wall nightclub, which was demolished in 2013.

In addition to the rezoning, Baldocchi is asking for waivers to allow a minimum living area of 260 square feet, instead of the required 500 square feet minimum. The applicant is also seeking an equivalent lot width of 20 feet instead of 45 feet, as required by code. The waivers are only being applied to the tiny home portion of plans.

Representatives at Gorman did not respond to requests for comment.

Wendover Housing Partners wants to build a 102-unit, income-restricted affordable housing community on the eastern shore of Lake Bumby.
Wendover Housing Partners wants to build a 102-unit, income-restricted affordable housing community on the eastern shore of Lake Bumby. (Orange County Property Appraiser/GrowthSpotter)

Meanwhile, to the south of Lake Bumby, Wendover is proposing to build a 102-unit income-restricted housing project on roughly 20 acres east of South Orange Blossom Trail and north of Americana Boulevard.

Units at the proposed Durham Place Apartments will be set aside for residents who make less than 60% of the Area’s Median Income (AMI), and a portion of the project will also be set aside for those that were formerly homeless, according to zoning variance application submitted in Orange County earlier this year.

More recently, Wendover applied for environmental resource permits in the St. Johns River Water Management District to begin the construction of the community, which will consist of building two 3-story multifamily buildings, a single-story clubhouse, a parking lot, underground utilities, and a stormwater management system.

Unicorp is proposing a $643 million mixed-use district with thousands of apartments, offices, hotels, a college campus and new open-air baseball stadium.

The buildings will have a total of 53 one-bedroom units and 49 two- and three-bedroom units.

“We constantly witness first-hand how impactful having a truly affordable place to live is to our residents,” Ryan von Weller, managing director of development at Wendover, said in a prepared statement to GrowthSpotter. “We are looking forward to seeing that same effect with Durham Place.”

Construction is anticipated to being by the end of this year. The community should open about a year later, according to von Weller.

Application documents show Durham Place is being funded through the State of Florida’s Housing Finance Corporation’s low-income tax credit program with a minimum 50-year agreement in place to keep units affordable.

It’s typical around this time of year for affordable housing developers to begin applying for the competitive 9% LIHTC housing credits.

Last month, GrowthSpotter reported that Banyan Development Group is also pursuing LIHTC housing credits for an affordable housing complex near the Central Florida Fairgrounds, west of downtown Orlando. The developer is proposing to build a 156-unit rent-restricted community at 817 Swiss Lane.

The projects fall in line with Orange County’s Housing For All plan adopted by Mayor Jerry Demings, which looks to add 11,000 new affordable housing units to Orange County within the next 10 years.

Currently, the site for the proposed Durham Place Apartments is vacant. Of the total 20.8 acres, 8.4 acres are considered wetlands. Property owner, Lake Bumby Properties, has owned the vacant property for more than 30 years.

In February, the developer won approvals from the Orange County Board of Commissioners on several variance requests seeking to allow for 118 parking spaces in lieu of 178 and a maximum of 43 feet in building height in lieu of 35 feet. Certain conditions apply, for example, the property will need to remain as a certified affordable housing project or the county’s parking requirements will apply.

The OBTNext master plan covering over 4,700 acres around an eight-mile stretch of Orange Blossom Trail hopes to bring new investment and development opportunities.

The parking reduction request was due to the lower demand for parking for income-restricted multifamily development. According to application documents, a majority of residents will not own an automobile, or will not use vehicles daily, and instead will utilize public transit, the closest being the Lynx bus service operating along Orange Blossom Trail.

Both project sites sit within one of five districts outlined in a master plan covering more than 4,000 acres around Orange Blossom Trail, between S.R. 50 to where Florida’s Turnpike intersects with S.R. 528 (Beachline Expressway).

The OBT Next plan, created by Orange Blossom Trail Development Board, hopes to bring more economic opportunities and diverse housing options to residents by showing possible development scenarios in different areas and how certain projects may be positioned to better serve the communities in the corridor.

Wendover is behind several affordable housing projects in Central Florida. In April, Universal Orlando announced it chose Wendover to design and build a 1,000-unit affordable housing project on 20 acres of vacant land next door to the Orange County Convention Center campus.

Universal Orlando pledged to build an affordable housing development in 2019, when it was seeking local tax money from Orange County to build a road to its newest theme park Epic Universe. Wendover is expected to finance the $250 million project.

The Altamonte Springs-based affordable housing real estate company manages communities throughout Central Florida, including Brixton Landing, Heritage Village and Camden Club. The company is in the middle of developing the 120-unit Hawthorne Park community in Pine Hills.

Groman was one or more than a dozen bidders that responded to a Request for Proposals from Osceola County to develop a master plan for 82 acres north of the SunRail station in Kissimmee.

Osceola County bought the land last year in addition to 16 acres owned by SunRail and ultimately enlisted Kissimmee-based Rj Whidden and Associates to come up with a master plan for the property. The planned SunRail Park project lies in a Qualified Opportunity Zone and is anticipated to serve as the center point for the 2,145-acre Employment Center.

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Gorman has completed multiple affordable housing communities throughout the US, including two in the Florida Keys. It’s Grand River Station project in La Crosse, Wisconsin is a mixed-use, mixed-income development with a transit station on the ground floor.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of the story published Sept. 9, 2021 incorrectly attributed another developer’s involvement, citing incorrect construction plans. This story has also been updated to include a comment from Wendover’s managing director of development.

The story was updated again (Sept. 20, 2021) to include details of a second affordable housing project nearby.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 491-3357, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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