ORLANDO-Banking on a national residential relocation trend that is seeing older suburban homeowners moving back to the city, Chicago-based Churchill Development Group and Westminister Partners are scheduling a tentative December groundbreaking for their planned $85-million Downtown condominium venture called the Vue at Lake Eola. The developers have contracts on half of the 384 units.

At 35 stories and 426 feet tall, the complex will be the tallest residential structure in Central Florida and the second-tallest building Downtown, next to the 35-story, 442-foot tall SunTrust Center at 200 S. Orange Ave. City planning officials tell GlobeSt.com the Federal Aviation Administration still has to approve the building’s height since aircraft from Orlando International Airport, 15 miles south of Downtown, fly over Downtown air space regularly.

The developers also have to close on their purchase of the 1.7-acre site on the southwest corner of the Rosalind Avenue and Robinson Street intersection, across the street from the 13-story, 200,000-sf Eola Park Center office building, owned by Florida Office Property Co., an affiliate of Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle.

Downtown brokers familiar with central business district land prices say the 1.7-acre lot from owner Dr. Phillips Inc., the largest private industrial landlord in the metro area, will probably go for $1 million per acre or about $23 per sf.

City planners say the developers initially had planned 318 dwelling units, 4,000 sf of retail and a 672-space parking garage in a 404-foot tall building. “Since the initial approval [on Feb. 17, 2004], escalating costs for steel and changing market conditions have prompted the applicant to propose changes to the project,” a planning department staffer tells GlobeSt.com. The developers increased the number of units to 384; the amount of retail to 6,000 sf; and the parking garage size to 674 spaces.

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