UPDATED: OCTOBER 25, 2017 10:40 AM — Tampa-based InVictus Development, which earned Orlando's approval in mid-2016 for its "Parramore Oaks" affordable housing redevelopment plan in downtown, drew praise for its design on Thursday and should close on public land by February, a lead executive with the company told GrowthSpotter.
InVictus emerged from a competitive bid process in early 2016 as the chosen developer for 6.34 city-owned acres in Parramore, with plans for 211 units of mixed-income residential across two phases.
The land is located on the northwest, southwest and southeast corners of Parramore Avenue and Conley Street, west of Downtown Orlando and just a few blocks south of Orlando City Soccer Club's new stadium.
The developer will pay more than $319,000 for the Phase 1 property (roughly 4.3 acres), and about $155,000 for the Phase 2 property (2.04 acres) in staggered transactions over the next two years.
InVictus' Parramore Oaks design went through a courtesy review on Thursday with the city's Appearance Review Board.
UPDATE: Plans for the 101 apartments and 19 townhomes in Phase 1 went back before ARB the week of Oct. 18 and were formally approved, which will be followed by building permit requests.
Staff said the Parramore neighborhood has long needed an infusion of new affordable housing options, and the Parramore Oaks project is delivering it.
The project has a contemporary architectural style that, while not consistent with the prevailing design of homes in Parramore, is well executed, staff noted. The apartment buildings and clusters of townhomes would utilize brick and stacked stone at their base, with stucco above and warm brown and gray colors.
Staff said they were generally pleased with the architectural design, and only offered a few focused, critical comments on angled roofs in the center of townhomes, and the design of multifamily corner units.
"Staff told us again today that 20,000 people used to live in Parramore and now there's around 5,000, so hopefully this project will be a catalyst to bring people back into the area," executive vice president Richard Cavalieri said Thursday.
InVictus' next step is to have its site plan, elevations and renderings go through administrative review by city staff. Those were submitted Wednesday, Cavalieri said, and that review process could take a month or more.
Within the next week, the developer should give Forum Architecture & Interior Design final approval to start construction plans on the multifamily and townhome buildings.
"We're planning a closing on the Phase 1 land for the end of January or early February, and are trying to get our building permits and all our funding and debt in place," Cavalieri said. "We have a permanent loan lined up for this, it should all come together at the end of January and then construction would start immediately after."
InVictus was awarded in June $21.3 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) for the project that it had applied for last December from the Florida Housing Finance Corp. (FHFC), which come at a favorable 9 percent interest rate.
The project was stalled a number of months earlier this year when several competing bidders for those LIHTCs filed legal challenges over the FHFC selection of Parramore Oaks.
InVictus has a new equity investor lined up for the project, said Cavalieri, who declined to name the partner. They'll buy the LIHTCs, will provide the construction loan and permanent financing, he added.
With a groundbreaking targeted for February 2018, Cavalieri estimated 15 months for construction of Phase 1, with an expectation of having the townhomes finished and occupied before that.
The 211-unit affordable housing project will have 120 residential units in Phase 1, with 19 townhomes and 101 apartments spread across three-story and four-story buildings, along with parking, laundry and community space.
Phase 2 is planned for 91 units, made up of 14 townhomes and a four-story, 77-unit apartment building. All the buildings will be concrete block or tilt wall construction.
InVictus previously estimated a budget of $23.7 million to develop Phase 1. The city's Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) will provide a development grant for Phase 1 of up to $648,000.
InVictus will have to begin Phase 1 construction within six months of closing on its construction financing, and finish Phase 1 within 18 months of the groundbreaking, estimated now for June 2019. It must follow similar completion dates after closing on the Phase 2 property.