An entity tied to the Related Group's affordable housing arm, Related Urban, is fighting a lot split denial by Orange County staff, which could block plans to build 96 senior affordable housing units in west Orlando.
Burkett Engineering filed an appeal April 3 with Orange County's Development Review Committee on behalf of Seville Place Holdings, just one day after a formal denial was issued by city staff.
The entity, led by Related Urban's Alberto Milo, Jr., was seeking a lot split to create a 6.5-acre parcel within an existing 35-acre parcel where it could build low-income apartments for the elderly.
Records show, the action was denied on the account that the proposed parcel did not have fee simple access to a roadway. Taylor Jones, of the Orange County Zoning Division, said the minimum requirement for any lot is a 20-foot fee simple access thoroughfare to a right-of-way.
The project roots back to 2011 when the Miami-based developer paid $5.5 million for a foreclosed 444-unit apartment complex at 3124 N. Pine Hills Rd., formerly operating as the Seville Place Apartments.
At the time, nearly 60 percent of the units were vacant. The developer had to embark on a thorough renovation plan that involved the demolition of 180 units.
In 2017, GrowthSpotter reported that the developer began pursuing about $12.65 million in tax-exempt bonds to fund the construction of its second phase: A 96-unit senior affordable housing project next to its 264-unit Emerald Villas Apartments, which consists of a mix of one- and two-story buildings built in the 1970s.
As required by the Federal Fair Housing Act, at least 80 percent the units will be rented to residents that qualify as elderly, meaning ages either 55 and up or 62 and up.
Of the total 96 units, 10 will be reserved for residents earning 40 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) — which in Orange County is $62,900. The remaining will be for residents earning 60 percent of the AMI. The units will be subject to the affordability program for 50 years.
Milo was not immediately available to respond. The appeal goes before the county's Development Review Committee April 10.
Since its inception, Related Urban has completed the development of more than 1,300 units of affordable and public housing.
One of its senior housing projects in Miami is currently under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office as part of a larger probe that consists of about a dozen publicly subsidized developments in South Florida. Federal authorities claim developers profited from alleged misreported construction costs. Related Urban has denied those claims.