Disney selects developer for affordable housing project

The Michaels Organization will build, own and operate more than 1,300 units on Disney’s land in West Orange.

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Walt Disney World has selected The Michaels Organization to build, own and operate a new affordable housing development in West Orange.

The project will be located on about 80 acres west of State Road 429 and just a couple of miles from Flamingo Crossings Town Center. The development is expected to include more than 1,300 units.

Negotiations between Walt Disney World and The Michael’s Organization on a definitive agreement for the project are underway. With more than 425 communities in more than 35 states, The Michaels Organization has provided solutions to affordable housing for many years and is the largest privately held owner of affordable housing in the country. The development will be open for qualifying applicants, including Disney cast members.

“For more than 50 years, Walt Disney World has cared for and invested in our community, and we’re committed to being a part of this solution which will bring more attainable housing to Central Florida,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “We will continue to find ways to use our resources to make a difference in the community we call home, and we’re excited to take this step with a nationally recognized developer.”

The initiative will create new jobs in the Central Florida community through The Michael’s Organization’s construction and ongoing operation of the property. Disney will collaborate with The Michaels Organization throughout its design and construction.

“We are excited to work with an iconic brand like Disney to deliver attainable housing for the Central Florida community,” Michaels CEO John J. O’Donnell said. “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.”

The development — planned to be privately financed — will be limited to applicants within a certain income range. This initiative will support and build upon Orange County’s Housing for All action plan to address housing affordability for local residents, an action plan brought about by the passion and leadership of Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.




Michael Eng

As a child, Editor and Publisher Michael Eng collected front pages of the Kansas City Star during Operation Desert Storm, so it was a foregone conclusion that he would pursue a career in journalism. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his wife and three children, or playing drums around town. He’s also a sucker for dad jokes.

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