- Walt Disney World has selected The Michaels Organization to build, own and operate a new attainable housing development in southwest Orange County, Florida.
- Disney will contribute approximately 80 acres of land for the community, which will offer affordable options for qualifying applicants within certain income levels, including employees at Disney’s nearby Magic Kingdom theme park in Orlando.
- The development is expected to include more than 1,300 units and Disney will collaborate with The Michaels Organization throughout the design and construction process, according to a press release. Additional details, including a construction timeline, will be shared in the future, the release said.
The privately funded initiative will support and build upon Orange County’s Housing for All action plan created by Orange County, Florida, Mayor Jerry Demings. It will offer Central Florida residents a variety of home choices near schools and the new Flamingo Crossings Town Center retail and dining complex.
With more than 425 communities in more than 35 states, The Michaels Organization is the largest privately held owner of affordable housing in the country.
“We are excited to work with an iconic brand like Disney to deliver attainable housing for the Central Florida community,” said Michaels CEO John J. O’Donnell. “Our goal is to create a repeatable model that we hope will inspire other companies and municipalities to create high quality, attainable housing in their own communities.”
Orlando is one of the country’s worst major metros for housing affordability, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. In the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metro area only 18 affordable rental homes are available for every 100 of the area’s poorest renters, according to NLIHC’s most recent GAP report.
The cost of housing has skyrocketed in many Florida markets since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with rents jumping as much as 30% in cities like Miami, Tampa and Orlando.
But things in the Sunshine State may be finally starting to cool. In a recent market report, RealPage said that rent growth levels have softened by at least 9 percentage points in West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. Still, year-over-year rent growth levels remain elevated.