The Orlando Union Rescue Mission will relocate its men's shelter next year to a shuttered hotel property west of Downtown Orlando, an investment of roughly $5 million that will add a net 80 beds to its space, and allow it to vacate the footprint of the future 8.4-acre Orlando Magic Entertainment Complex, the mission's president and CEO told GrowthSpotter.
Located at 3300 W. Colonial Dr., the former Parkwood Inn will be expanded from its current 100 beds to 200, up from the current men's shelter's 120 beds. Partial demolition will start in January and construction is expected to run nine months, said Fred B. Clayton.
"This is a very good location that will allow us to enhance and improve the men's shelter ministries," he said. "With land acquisition and renovations we're estimating currently $5 million. We'll conduct a capital campaign to raise funds over the next two years, and some need gifts have already been pledged."
The shelter takes in homeless men for long-term stays of a few months to a few years. They enrolls in a discipleship program, and benefit from training, counseling and support to help make them self sufficient and transition back into society.
The hotel property was bought in late June for $2.8 million by Orlando Development Partners XVI, LLC, a business entity traceable only to local attorney Greg Lee of BakerHostetler.
The buyer is a private entity created to help facilitate the OURM men's shelter move, said Clayton, who noted its principals are related to the LLC formed by the Orlando Magic to buy up land for the entertainment complex near the Amway Center.
"Our current men's shelter is 80 years old and quite expensive, ... costing $40,000 to $50,000 annually to maintain now," Clayton said. "We've been negotiating with the Orlando Magic for three years on their acquisition of our site. We think this is a good solution for all."
The new men's shelter will benefit from the hotel site's expansive 3.5 acres, a significant upgrade from its current 0.8-acre site on W. Central Boulevard.
The renovation of the hotel property will add a large interior courtyard, dining hall, kitchen and chapel to the property.
"As a community we have made a commitment to ending homelessness and the Orlando Union Rescue Mission plays a critical role in this effort," said Regina I. Hill, Orlando's District 5 commissioner. "We are pleased they have found a new location that allows them to provide essential services in a more efficient manner."
Clayton called the city government "a great advocate" for the OURM over the past three years in its relocation planning, saying it's clear the men's shelter is a valued component in the city's efforts to solve homelessness.
Lee of BakerHostetler filed a determination request and final site plan with the city on Nov. 23 for redevelopment of the hotel property.
On Dec. 8, OURM informed the city's planning staff it was no longer pursuing relocation of the men's shelter to the proposed Anderson Street site, and withdrew its rezoning and conditional use permit applications filed in 2015.
The mission had been working last year to buy city-owned land a half mile from its current men's shelter, at the corner of Anderson Street and Terry Avenue in Parramore. Negative feedback from residents near the site prompted OURM to look elsewhere.
With the new men's shelter potentially ready for occupancy by October 2017, it clears the way for the Orlando Magic to proceed with more demolition and construction work next year on its 8.4-acre entertainment complex site.
With construction of the new Orlando Police Headquarters on S. Orange Blossom Trail projected to be complete in First Quarter 2017, demolition of the current headquarters on S. Hughey Avenue could potentially begin shortly after.
"We don't have a timetable for when construction will start (on the entertainment complex). We're still in the design process, taking it from conceptual to final design," said Joel Glass, Orlando Magic spokesman. There's no formal timetable for demolition of the police headquarters, he added.