Disney, Universal Plan to Develop Affordable Housing Units in Florida

Disney, Universal Plan to Develop Affordable Housing Units in Florida

  • Walt Disney announced plans this week to create 1,300 homes on 80 acres of its land in Florida.
  • Disney joins a growing list of theme parks developing affordable housing.
  • Universal Orlando said in March it would offer up 20 acres to create 1,000 units of affordable housing.

Disney plans to develop 1,300 affordable housing units across around 80 acres of its land in Orange County, Florida, close to its theme parks, as US house prices continue to outpace wage growth.

The unnamed proposed project is still subject to approvals and will be built by an affordable housing developer on Disney land close to its Central Florida based theme parks, the firm said Wednesday.

The company didn’t specify criteria or how much the units would cost, but said homes would be available to “qualifying applicants” from the general public, including its theme park staffers.

The units, described as “affordable and attainable”, will be placed near schools and Disney’s restaurant and retail complex, Flamingo Crossings, by its Walt Disney World resort.

“We are invested in working together with our community to solve complex issues,” said Walt Disney World resort president Jeff Vahle in a statement.

“The lack of affordable housing is affecting many people across our country, including right here in Central Florida,” he added.

Disney isn’t the only Florida resort operator forking out for more affordable housing for its staffers and local residents. Universal announced on March 28 it would build, with developer Wendover Housing Partners, 1,000 affordable units on its land to “address the shortage of affordable housing in Orlando.” Universal’s plans also remain subject to approval from Orange County.

Florida is one of the least affordable places to live in the US, the Washington Post reported in January. The publication’s analysis of Zillow data found house prices had risen faster than any other state in the last six months of 2021, while wages have not grown at the same rate.

Rent prices in Orlando jumped 21% between 2020 and 2021, according to a study by Florida Atlantic University’s business faculty.

Disney said it had previously funded in affordable housing projects in the area. One project, Finamore Place in Anaheim, is set to offer 100 housing units for completion this summer. The theme park operator also helped fund a housing project to aid veterans and homeless people with mental health concerns.

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