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Alliance Residential, a company that develops multifamily projects around the country, has proposed to build Broadstone at Lake House on the shores of Lake Ivanhoe. Located at 301 NE Ivanhoe Boulevard, the site is the current location of the Baldwin-Fairchild chapel.
The proposed development is a 10-story, mixed-use project that includes 276 residential units on floors two through 10, approximately 39,664 square feet of live/work residential unit space on the ground floor and a 515-space parking garage.
The site is zoned MU-2, which Orlando describes as “Mixed Use Corridor – High Intensity.” Alliance has requested two bonuses: a density bonus from 181 units to 276 and a height modification from 100 feet to 120 feet.
District 3 Commissioner Robert Stuart said that “bonus” is actually a bad term. “It is more of a credit earned,” said Stuart. Developers can earn these bonuses or credits by including some public benefit in the project. In this case, the developer is providing parking, so it earns a credit.
Of course, with a project this tall and notably different from anything else in the quaint neighborhood of Ivanhoe Village, there is opposition. A resident started a petition on Change.org (http://bit.ly/2m6wWec) that had gathered over 300 signatures by mid-March.
The developer held a public meeting February 23 at the Senior Center on Marks Street. About 20 people showed up, and the College Park Paper spoke with a source who attended the meeting.
One of the main concerns raised was the traffic impact this project would have on Orange Avenue and the surrounding neighborhood roads. The source said the developer’s traffic study estimates the project would create additional 1,800 to 1,900 trips per day. The city will not install a light at the intersection of NE Ivanhoe and Orange Avenue because it is too close to the intersection of Orange Avenue and Virginia Drive.
Commissioner Stuart was not concerned so much about the additional volume as he was with the sight lines of drivers attempting to turn onto Orange Avenue.
Another concern raised by residents at the meeting was the density and height bonus. Can Ivanhoe absorb that many more people? And with Ivanhoe known as an artsy enclave, the design of the building was called into question.
The source the Paper spoke with acknowledged that The Yard, another multi-use development coming to Ivanhoe Village, gave a nod to the area by incorporating some industrial elements in its design. “Rather than a box design, how about design something with character?” asked the source rhetorically.
Reviewing the comments section on the Change.org petition yields similar concerns. One person wrote, “The developers in this case have failed to make a compelling case for the code variations they are requesting. Moreover, the structure they are proposing is hideously commercial and completely unsuited to the overall character of the neighborhood.”
Another signer of the petition wrote, “This area in the antique district is very special, let’s not destroy it! The allowed 181 units will be a burden on this area as it is, any variance to allow additional units would be the wrong thing for this area!”
The College Park Paper reached out to Alliance Residential but was told they did not have anyone available to discuss the project.
The live/work residential units on the first floor of the project are an interesting part of the development. Commissioner Stuart described them as spaces that an attorney or doctor might use. Essentially, each unit space is literally part office and part residence. Stuart said it is part of urban development and can be seen in Baldwin Park. It also earns Alliance another credit toward a bonus.
City staff approved the project, and it went before the Orlando Municipal Planning Board Tuesday, March 21. The MPB did not approve the density bonus and asked Alliance to meet with the community again. The design of the building was questioned as well as whether it provides a true public benefit such as retail on the ground floor.
According to a community member who attended the MPB meeting, if you would like to receive notification of the next public meeting, you can email James Johnston, an attorney with Shutts and Bowen who is representing the project, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The MPB will meet April 18 to discuss the project again.
Stuart said he cannot negotiate on behalf of the neighborhood. “My job is to educate the people on the process.” Stuart also said that the power is in the neighborhood. He encouraged citizens to attend the MPB to be heard.
The source the Paper spoke to realizes that the land is “an awesome piece of real estate” with views of Lake Ivanhoe and access to Gaston Foster Park across the street. The source also acknowledged that something is going to be built there — “It is zoned MU-2!” — and wants to make sure the developer earns the credits. “What is worthy of a density bonus?”