Work is expected to start next week on a nine-story apartment complex near Lake Eola in downtown Orlando — an area that has seen little development since the real-estate crash seven years ago.
The Jefferson Apartment Group last week bought two acres at East Church Street and South Osceola Avenue from an Ohio-based investor. It expects to start work immediately on a 299-unit complex with the working name of 420 Church, a spokesman said.
The area just south of Lake Eola became home to numerous condominium and apartment buildings before the real-estate downturn in 2007. Since then, at least three apartment complexes have been built on the north side of downtown.
Construction plans for 420 Church include 9,000 square feet of ground-level retail. About a third of that is expected to be leased as an art gallery. It also includes 10 ground-level studios that could be used for artists.
“We’re trying to create a little bit of an arts district near Eola,” said Mike Mulhall, regional partner for Jefferson Apartment Group.
In addition, 420 Church will have three levels of secured parking with a pool deck on the fifth floor.
Even as new rental properties fill up in Orlando’s urban core, the downtown area can attract renters willing to pay more than $1,200 a month for apartments with lots of amenities, Mulhall said.
The Jefferson Apartment Group’s concept for the site has changed since the company started planning the project more than five years ago. At that time, it was envisioned as three towers.
The company is also working on another site on the south side of downtown. Mulhall said his company has a contract on a site closer to South Street but was unable to discuss further details.
Susan Morris, with the Colliers International real-estate firm, said the Jefferson project is one of several apartment complexes in the final planning stages for downtown Orlando.
Another downtown project that may take shape soon is The Sevens, which would be developed on North Orange Avenue property owned by Pizzuti Cos. A spokesperson for the company said last week that it would break ground in August.
In 2012, Pizzuti Cos. submitted plans for 316 apartment units on the property, which is just north of Colonial Drive. Previously, the company planned an office building there.
As planned, The Sevens would have nine stories surrounding a courtyard. It would include about 9,500 square feet of first-floor retail and a seven-story parking garage. The project also includes a dog run, playground, clubhouse, ninth-floor lounge, game room, fitness center and pool.