Ustler & partner file plans for mixed-use student housing tower in Creative Village

Bob Moser

Ustler Development and a joint venture partner filed plans on Wednesday for the second project in Downtown Orlando's 68-acre Creative Village urban infill site, a 15-story mixed-use tower anchored by student housing.

In conjunction with Phase 1 of UCF Downtown, Ustler and partner KUD International, LLC filed Master Plan documents with the City of Orlando for the building to include restaurants, retail, education support space and student apartments on 1.35 acres at the northwest corner of Terry Avenue and Livingston Street. 

"This is a significant project with a lot in the building, and we think it's a great case study on how to mix uses and place housing, commercial, education space and parking in one building," Craig Ustler, president of Ustler Development and a lead figure in master developer Creative Village Development, LLC, told GrowthSpotter on Wednesday. 

The 15-story building is projected to have 10,000 to 12,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space, with an emphasis on fast-casual and fast food restaurants to support residents, and foot traffic from the campus' academic building across the street. 

UCF is expected to lease between 46,000 and 48,000 square feet on the building's first, second and third floors for education support operations that won't go in its academic building, like the student recreation center and financial aid office, Ustler said. 

Valencia College will lease another 55,000 square feet in the building, where it will move its culinary and hospitality teaching facilities to downtown. That will occupy a portion of the third floor, and all of the fourth and fifth floors. 

The 600 beds of student housing would occupy floors six through 15. The building's residential and commercial uses wrap around a 600-space parking garage, partially obscured on the lot's northwest side away from the intersection.

Plans for the new Ustler/KUD student housing project should go before the Creative Village Development Review Committee (CVDRC) on its May 9 agenda. 

The developers have yet to announce their debt and equity partners on the estimated $90 million project, and should do so in the next three to six months, Ustler said. 

Baker Barrios is the architect, and general contractor is Batson Cook Construction, a subsidiary of KUD's parent company Kajima USA. Batson Cook also built the SkyHouse apartment tower in Downtown Orlando. 

UCF will be hired to manage the student housing portion, though Ustler and KUD will set rental rates. JLL's Orlando office will market the ground floor commercial space, and the developer has yet to choose a property manager for the building as a whole. 

With a hard deadline of July 2019 to complete construction prior to an August 2019 opening for UCF Downtown, Ustler and KUD aim to start site work on the 15-story building by this November. 

Wednesday's student housing Master Plan follows the first project introduced for Creative Village in late February, a 256-unit mixed-income housing and commercial development by Winter Park-based Atlantic Housing Partners and JV partner Bank of America Community Development Corporation.  

Planned for 2.98 acres at the northeast corner of Amelia Street and Parramore Avenue, Atlantic Housing chose to double the land and more than double the unit count originally estimated last year for its project, principal Scott Culp told GrowthSpotter on Feb. 21

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