HomeNewsImprovement Programs Encourage the Development of Orlando’s Underused Commercial Properties

Improvement Programs Encourage the Development of Orlando’s Underused Commercial Properties

Florida has recently been named as the country’s most business-friendly state, with Orlando taking the top spot as the best city to start a new commercial enterprise.   The ongoing construction of new hotels in central Orlando helps the city to retain its reputation as a top-ranking tourist destination, but, in addition to a flourishing hospitality industry, businesses in other sectors from tech startups to gaming giants are drawn to the region. With a need for new premises, commercial businesses and community services are being encouraged by the City of Orlando to repurpose and expand vacant and abandoned properties that will enhance the local landscape and revitalize the city and its suburbs.

Funding for Small Businesses to Improve Vacant Properties

To encourage small businesses to develop vacant and unused commercial properties, funding is now being made available by the city of Orlando.  Commercial for-profit businesses looking for new premises can apply for awards through the Small Business Facade, Site Improvement and Adaptive Reuse Program in order to improve the appearance of existing buildings.  The ultimate aim of the funding is to revitalize and cultivate vibrant business corridors. As well as funding to improve the exterior of rundown buildings, commercial properties in the north east of the city can also benefit from landscape management services to further enhance business premises and the local environment.

Proposed Mixed-Use Development of Disused Complex

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In Casselberry, 10 miles north east of Orlando, the owner of the now closed Orlando Jai Alai Fronton is collaborating with a gaming giant to transform the property into a new commercial, retail and residential complex. As well as over a thousand luxury residential apartments, the proposed $500 million mixed-use development would include themed restaurants, an outdoor stage and an additional 70,000 square feet for further commercial use.  The addition of a poker bar means the project will need approval from the local community, but it is hoped that the game would draw in customers to purchase from the high-end retail units and restaurants included in the plans for development.

Completed Expansion of Historical Former School Building

A partnership of construction firms has been supplying design-build services for the expansion and renovation of an historical building in order to provide a home for a neighborhood community center.  Built in the Mediterranean Revival style, the former Grand Avenue Elementary School in Orlando was identified as an historic landmark in 1995.  Now the property has been repurposed for use as a community center. As part of the City’s Neighborhood Infrastructure Improvement Program, the building now combines 22,500 square feet of renovations of the original building with almost 35,000 square feet of new construction.  In addition to outdoor facilities such as playgrounds, the complex also includes  a gymnasium, auditorium, learning spaces and studios and a cafeteria.

With the support of the City of Orlando improvement programs, more commercial businesses and community enterprises are being encouraged to transform underused buildings into high-end premises.  By developing derelict sites and enhancing the local landscape, new businesses can help to improve the city’s economic viability.

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