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Universal Orlando selects Wendover for affordable housing project

Universal Orlando has chosen Wendover Housing Partners as the developer to design, build and manage an affordable housing community in Orange County.

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Universal Orlando Resort is providing 20 acres of land for the community, which will be located close to the International Drive corridor in Florida.

Jonathan L Wolf, founder and CEO of Wendover Housing Partners, described the project as “a community that is close to where people work, filled with amenities that they want and with rents they can afford”.

“We see this as a model for the rest of the country to show how this type of partnership can be used to address the critical need for innovative affordable housing solutions,” added Wolf.

The community will include 1,000 high-quality apartments and 16,000 square feet of retail space, with construction set to start in late 2022.

Construction begins in late 2022

Universal has established a not-for-profit called Housing for Tomorrow to oversee the project, and has transferred ownership of the site to the master developer.

“Affordable Housing is one of our community’s biggest challenges and we want to be part of the solution,” said John Sprouls, executive VP and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts.

“Wendover’s willingness to enter a long-term commitment, its experience with affordable housing in our state and its solid financing model will help us make sure we succeed,” he added.

Housing for Tomorrow will work alongside Wendover Housing Partners and Orange County, while Universal Creative will work with Wendover on the overall plan.

Green and retail spaces in Orlando

universal orlando affordable housing

Under the agreement, Wendover is required to oversee the community for at least 55 years. The company was chosen from five finalists.

“The commitment Universal Studios has made is a great example of how our business community can be part of the solution,” said Terry Prather, chief operation officer of Lift Orlando.

“I was thrilled when Universal stepped up to help solve our affordable housing crisis,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L Demings. “When public and private organizations, and the government, come together great things happen.”

Images: Universal Orlando

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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