Apartment Trend is Accelerating in Downtown Orlando
Standing inside the lobby of Orlando’s newest luxury apartment complex, Nora, Mayor Buddy Dyer noted that this was his fourth ribbon cutting ceremony of the week – a sign of the increased building in Orlando. Dyer was attending the dedication and ribbon cutting at Nora, an eco-friendly, urban rental development at 899 N. Orange Ave.
“I’m the happiest mayor in America,” he said.
The mayor joined Adam Ginsburg, co-chairman of the New York-based firm GDC Properties, which built the complex. Andrew Ginsburg is no stranger to downtown Orlando, having opened the nearby Aloft Orlando hotel near City Hall in 2013. Describing Nora, he says the beautiful steel and concrete six-story apartment building has a cool rooftop feature. The roof is lined with a photo-voltaic system that produces 200 kilowatts and helps power the electricity at Nora. Also, during low demand times, they’re putting electricity back in the grid for the rest of the city.
“This is just the latest in a series of developments we are proud to be part of in this city, and hopefully there are more to come,” Ginsburg said. “We’re excited to tap into the burgeoning north quarter neighborhood.”
Mayor Dyer welcomed them, noting that Realtor.com now lists the 32801 zip code, which covers downtown Orlando, as “the most searched for zip code for real estate, not in Central Florida, not the state, but the entire country.”
“I suspect you’ll have a waiting list here in pretty short order,” Dyer said.
Nora is located within close proximity to a growing number of apartment complexes along Orange Avenue, including Camden and Steel House, which was built by Pollack Shores Real Estate Group. Pollack Shores also wants to build an apartment complex further out from downtown, in College Park. The City Council, with Dyer’s support, voted in favor of the project, known as The Princeton at College Park. It’s on hold because a group of residents formed Rethink the Princeton, a grassroots effort to challenge the complex. They’ve hired an attorney to appeal the council’s vote.
Mary Travis, the president of RTP, said she agrees with Dyer that the concentration of apartment complexes in downtown Orlando makes sense. The real question, she added, is why expand beyond downtown into neighborhoods like College Park.
“Density is not a bad thing,” she said. “That’s really our point – density where density belongs, and it does belong downtown. What we are concerned about is coming into a community a bit far flung from that area, and taking away the unique charm, the way the neighborhood looks or just letting it organically grow, and imposing this on us.”
The downtown construction boom continues. A block away from Nora, The Sevens, a nine-story, 333-unit luxury apartment complex is under construction, slated to open in 2016.
In the meantime, Ginsburg said Nora will offer 246 units in 10 spacious floor plans, ranging in rent price from $1,400 to $3,000, and 50 percent of which have already been leased. It’s pet-friendly, boasts incredible panoramic views, with parking available on every floor level. One of the more luxurious amenities is what’s called the zero-entry pool, reminiscent of some of the hottest hotels in Miami.
Residential units occupy the upper floors. Along the street level will be 10,000 square feet of retail space that will be transformed into a tavern, a yoga and pilates studio, and a new Coffee Culture Café, “a Canadian concept, their first outpost in Orlando,” Ginsburg said. “We think it will be a great addition to the downtown dining scene.”
That’s what attracted GDC to Orlando, he said. “We enjoy central locations. It’s easy to get everywhere from downtown.”
Source: “Apartment trend is accelerating in downtown Orlando,” Orlando Sentinel