ORLANDO-After 20 years and $40 million of lukewarm redevelopment efforts, this city of 180,000 permanent residents is ecstatic over a $53-million Downtown neighborhood rejuvenation package being proposed by some of the biggest hitters in Florida’s commercial real estate community.
They are Bank of America, Trammell Crow Co., St. Joe Commercial, Carolina Florida Properties and locally-based Hughes Supply Inc., one of the country’s largest construction industry vendors.
The companies propose transforming Parramore, one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods in a crime-infested, one-square mile Downtown pocket, into a thriving commercial hub.
Leading the charge is publicly-traded Hughes Supply, which plans to build a corporate headquarters for its 350-person staff currently housed in the 20 N. Orange Ave. building, about 12 blocks away.
The estimated size and cost of the Hughes structure is 200,000 sf and $30 million. The company plans to add 150 new jobs. Bank of America is willing to fund the construction of shops, 254 apartment units and a 1,000-car parking garage.
Construction could begin next March and take 18 months to complete. The city is weighing a $12-million economic incentive package from its Community Redevelopment Agency for the venture, which took 18 months to jell.
The Orlando Neighborhood Improvement Corp., a non-profit housing agency founded by the city, will partner with Bank of America on the housing and retail. St. Joe Commercial will work with Hughes and Trammell Crow on the office space.
The projects will be built along West Church Street between Division and Terry Avenues. This site is only a few blocks from the proposed $30-million Florida A&M University law school campus; a new federal courthouse building; and a new arena location for Orlando Magic.
Carolina Florida Properties owns the bulk of the 30 acres in the planned redevelopment area. The developer already has demolished 40 properties in assembling the Parramore land package.
The momentum for this newest redevelopment thrust comes as 1,300 new apartment units are surfacing in the central business district in one of the city’s biggest development years led by private investment.