Florida’s Live Local Act inspires new UCF-area development in east Orlando. Here’s what to know.

Florida’s Live Local Act, which was signed into law in March, is expected to increase development of multifamily projects with workforce and affordable units.

A new project proposed near the University of Central Florida appears to be the first Orlando-area development directly inspired by Florida’s new Live Local Act.

An application filed July 7 on behalf of Palm Beach Gardens-based Eastwind Development seeks to discuss developing the 14.1-acre property at 10850 E. Colonial Drive as a multifamily project.

The vacant property currently has commercial zoning.

However, one of the key provisions of the Live Local Act, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law March 29, is that cities and counties must authorize a multifamily or mixed-use project in an area that’s already zoned for commercial, industrial or mixed-use if the developer agrees to make at least 40% of the residential units affordable or workforce housing for 30 years.

The provision is important, as it will allow developers to bypass process steps such as rezoning and land-use changes — something that will save developers significant time and legal expenses, both of which are valuable in making new projects make financial sense.

A memo submitted to the county on behalf of the developer by Akerman LLP attorney Carolyn Haslam says Eastwind’s intent is to do just that and to “develop the property with the maximum density allowable in the county.”

The development team’s specific citation of the legislation is noteworthy, as it could be a precursor to more development on land with the designated zoning.

Stephen Novacki, Eastwind’s vice president of acquisition and development, told Orlando Business Journal that, given the early stage of the project, he did not have details — such as how many apartments the project might have.

The project application does note that Eastwind is the contracted buyer for the property from landowner Diamond Holdings Group LLC and the maximum building height sought by the developer is four stories.

Novacki indicated the project’s details will become clearer after a meeting with county officials to discuss a path forward. He also said his group is bullish on the demand for a multifamily project in the area, which is less than four miles southwest of UCF’s main campus, near the intersection of East Colonial Drive and Rouse Road.

“I think there is a need for more apartments in this submarket and there’s an even bigger need for apartment projects with a workforce housing component,” Novacki said.

Haslam could not be reached for further comment, and executives for Diamond Holdings Group LLC were not immediately available for comment.

Eastwind Development is not new to the market and currently has a five-story, 261-unit The Aston at Uptown apartment community in its development pipeline near the Altamonte Mall.

Meanwhile, state and local experts have told The Business Journals that the Live Local Act will be transformative in how it effects development in Florida.

“The attainable housing law will immediately change the landscape of development in Florida,” previously said Keith Poliakoff, an attorney with Fort Lauderdale-based Government Law Group, which represents many developers. “For the first time I can recall in state history, the state government has overridden home rule and taken away the zoning and land-use powers from local government.”

Keith Poliakoff, Government Law Group


Meanwhile, the East Orlando submarket is the fourth largest in the metro, with 20,455 apartments — and another 1,003 in its development pipeline, according to CoStar Group data.

The submarket has an average rent of $1,715 per unit and a 7.4% average vacancy rate — the former of which lags metro Orlando’s average of $1,800 per unit, while the latter outperforms the region’s 8.5% average vacancy rate.

Article Link: Florida’s Live Local Act inspires new UCF-area development in east Orlando. Here’s what to know.
Author: Steven Ryzewski – Staff Writer, Orlando Business Journal