The Universal Orlando Resort has selected Wendover Housing Partners to develop Universal's affordable housing project for the central Florida community.
Universal announced the project last year, saying it would donate 20 acres near International Drive for the project, which will include 1,000 high-quality apartments as well as 16,000 square-feet of retail space. Universal has transferred ownership of the land to a non-profit called Housing for Tomorrow, which will serve as master developer and provide the land to Wendover on a $10-a-year, 55-year lease to design, build and manage the community.
Seventeen developers submitted proposals for the project, with Universal selecting Wendover. Wendover will seek its own financing for the development, which will move forward with design help from Universal Creative. Housing for Tomorrow will set the guidelines for the project and the agreement requires an annual certification process "to ensure key guidelines regarding the right mix of residents, amenities and quality of life are met."
"Affordable Housing is one of our community’s biggest challenges and we want to be part of the solution," Universal Parks & Resorts Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer John Sprouls said. "We have brought people with the right expertise together with land to create a new affordable housing community – and a new approach to this issue. Wendover's willingness to enter a long-term commitment, its experience with affordable housing in our state and its solid financing model will help us make sure we succeed."
"This is an unprecedented partnership between a major company in the community and a private developer to work together to design a community that is close to where people work, filled with amenities that they want and with rents they can afford," Wendover Housing Partners founder and CEO Jonathan L. Wolf said. "We see this as a model for the rest of the country to show how this type of partnership can be used to address the critical need for innovative affordable housing solutions."
Construction is expected to begin in late 2022.
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Let’s see Disney and Universal compete to build the best affordable housing for their employees! (Yeah, who am I kidding?)
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This is 100% a good thing and much needed, but I feel obligated to point out the government (/Orange County voters like me) demanded they do it to make up for all the publicly funded private-projects and tax breaks they have gotten over decades and in the future, while not caring one iota about affordable housing for their employees. Epic Universe would likely not have gotten built if they didn't agree to do this and honestly I find this video cringy as hell "when we learned about the need we sat down as a company..." yea apparently your company has been asleep for decades.