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ORLANDO-The largest Downtown redevelopment project in the city’s 166-year-old history is under way in one-square-mile Parramore, the poorest neighborhood in Orlando.

The $53 million, four-acre enterprise is being developed by Bank of America’s community development group, Trammell Crow Co., Orlando Neighborhood Improvement Corp. and St. Joe Commercial.

The developers say they would not have attempted the undertaking without the total $28 million in city-county incentives, the largest financing package local government has given to any commercial proposal.

“We think it is the best investment local government has ever made on anything,” a city of Orlando staffer tells GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity.

The city has sunk $40 million in various shelter and commercial renovations in Parramore over the past 20 years without raising the neighborhood’s profile as a low-income, crime-stained area.

The project envisions a seven-story, 266-unit apartment building; a 1,000-car parking garage; 25,000 sf of retail; and a $23 million, 150,000-sf, five-story new headquarters site for locally based Hughes Supply Inc., one of the nation’s largest distributors of construction materials.

Hughes officials say they would have built the new headquarters in neighboring Seminole County if Orlando-Orange County hadn’t provided the incentives package.

Orange County’s Housing Finance Authority is guaranteeing a $12 million, tax-free loan to lead developer Bank of America. The city and county are contributing a total $12 million in cash. The state is offering tax credits that can be converted to $4 million cash.

The enterprise is going up along West Church Street, between Division and Terry Avenues. That location is three blocks south from a planned $60 million, new federal courthouse building and a proposed $30 million Florida A&M University law school.

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