Universal Parks & Resorts is planning a new way to give back to Orange County, home of Universal Orlando Resort. Universal has begun a nationwide search for a developer to design, build and manage an affordable housing community to help solve one of the region’s most challenging problems. The development will be on a 20-acre site just off of International Drive and will be used exclusively for 1,000 high-quality apartments. The area was targeted specifically based on the findings and recommendations of the Orange County Housing for All Task Force.
The goal right now is to break ground on the land in 2022. Universal wants affordable housing on the land in perpetuity, so they will manage the developer selection process and work to create the development agreement with Orange County while donating the land to a not-for-profit entity set up for the purpose. Universal has involved key team member members and community leaders to oversee the process through its own Housing for Tomorrow initiative.
At this point, the Housing for Tomorrow initiative has just issued a Request for Qualifications, which invites developers who specialize in affordable housing to express interest in the project. Universal expects to select a final candidate by the first quarter of 2021 and more information about the initiative is available at HousingForTomorrow.com.
The vision statement for the Universal Orlando Housing for All Committee is:
We believe access to affordable housing is a human right. We strongly support the findings and recommendations of Orange County’s Housing for All Task Force. We will play an active, leadership role in helping our community move solutions forward.
- We are creating a community where residents will be the priority
- We will create a neighborhood that inspires and enables personal growth and is a place where residents are proud to live
- We will value and prioritize diversity and inclusiveness – by all and for all
- We will create and embrace a new kind of public-private partnership dedicated to innovation on behalf of our residents
- We will search out national best practices that will help guide us – and we will create new national standards and best practices when we see opportunity
The initiative is being praised by Orange County leaders including Mayor Jerry L. Demings who said, “I am thrilled that Universal has stepped up to the plate to help solve the affordable housing challenge, an issue that affects us all. I am also very proud of the results produced by the Housing for All Task Force. Their plan of action provides a clear blueprint moving forward.”