- The City of Orlando Municipal Planning Board has approved plans for the mixed-use Zoi House Orlando project, which at a height of 41 stories, or 467 feet, would be the city’s tallest building, according to WOFL Fox 35. The full city council will vote on the project at its next scheduled meeting on Dec. 10.
- The project will include 300 multifamily residences, ranging from studios to three-bedroom units; 10,000 square feet of commercial/retail space and 130,000 square feet of offices. As a condition of approval, the planning board imposed multiple conditions on developers, requiring: Federal Aviation Administration approval of the building’s height, upgrades to surrounding infrastructure and stormwater management systems if necessary, a 10-foot by 10-foot rooftop space set aside for city communications equipment, installation of a distributed antenna system, public art that "fairly and proportionally mitigates the project's impact on the public realm” and a roofline that will “enhance” the downtown skyline.
- The more than 1-acre site is located in one of the city’s designated “downtown activity centers,” where officials encourage the development of high-density and high-intensity mixed-use projects. As part of its application to the city, developer MEC Equity Partners requested and was granted a density bonus of 85 units and an intensity bonus of an approximately 5,400 square feet related to the city's zoning ordinances.
City planners across the U.S. are struggling to strike a balance between what the public perceives as responsible growth and an increased demand for live-work-play environments that can pack hundreds of new dwellings into a relatively small area. These projects address the need for new housing in many communities — providing plenty of construction jobs along the way — but many existing residents push back against the prospect of increased traffic, pollution and stress on public services.
And the pressure isn’t just on private developers. A Los Angeles-based advocacy group, for example, recently filed a lawsuit against the city in an effort to stop changes in allowable density along a Los Angeles Metro light-rail line. Fix the City has asked the court to prevent city officials from increasing residential and employment densities by 20% and 25%, respectively, until the city has met its obligations to maintain existing infrastructure along the Expo Line’s path from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica, California. According to Fix the City, substandard road conditions cost Los Angelenos $1,700 a year in time and fuel plus $1,000 in vehicle repairs.