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Universal takes next steps toward building affordable housing community

The project is expected to be complete by 2022.
Credit: Universal Parks & Resorts

ORLANDO, Fla. — Universal Parks & Resorts is continuing to push forward with its vision to bring an affordable housing community to one of Florida's most prominent tourist hubs – Central Florida.

Housing for Tomorrow, a nonprofit established by the Orlando theme park, will oversee the recently-selected company set to design, build and manage the property that sits next to the construction site for Universal's Epic Universe

According to Universal, a "rigorous national search" led to selecting Wendover Housing Partners for the project. The company has been operating for more than 30 years right in the theme park's backyard in Altamonte Springs. 

"Wendover has built a portfolio of affordable and mixed-income developments to create housing opportunities in a variety of economically and socially diverse neighborhoods," Universal wrote on its website.

Universal says it hopes its vision to build an approximately 1,000-apartment space just east of the Orange County Convention Center will help "find a unique solution to one of Central Florida’s most pressing issues."

A 16,000 square-foot retail space, amenities and transportation hub will also be built on the parcel of land, according to Universal. Construction is expected to get underway in late 2022.

Those living in the community would have easy access to I-4, International Drive, and Orlando International Airport. 

Credit: Universal Parks & Resorts

“Affordable Housing is one of our community’s biggest challenges and we want to be part of the solution,” John Sprouls, executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Universal Parks & Resorts said. 

Universal said the project will focus on five key points: 

  • Creating a community where residents will be the priority.
  • Creating a neighborhood that inspires and enables personal growth. 
  • Valuing and prioritizing diversity and inclusiveness.
  • Creating and embrace a new kind of public-private partnership dedicated to innovation on behalf of its residents.
  • Seeking out national best practices that will help guide, create new national standards and best practices.

“I was thrilled when Universal stepped up to help solve our affordable housing crisis,” Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings said. “When public and private organizations, and the government, come together great things happen. This housing initiative is a primary example of such collaboration.”

You can learn more about the project here.

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