Orlando city leaders OK plans for new downtown high-rise

Proposed 28-story apartment building faces backlash

ORLANDO, Fla. – The City of Orlando Municipal Planning Board on Tuesday moved forward with plans for a proposed 28-story high-rise in downtown Orlando despite heavy opposition.

The development, which officials said will be home to an apartment complex, retailers, restaurants and a parking garage, is slated to sit near the corner of Central Avenue and Rosalind Avenue near Lake Eola Park.

The planning board approved the tower, known as City Centre, unanimously at a packed meeting inside Orlando City Chambers late Tuesday afternoon. Most who attended the hours-long meeting were opposed to the project.

"I think we should honor our past, folks. The people who created all of this were smart folks," said Lynn Long. "We should honor their wishes."

Long is a member of the Rosalind Club, a social club for women located in downtown Orlando. Dozens of members from the longstanding club were in attendance at the meeting Tuesday telling officials what kind of problems they think the proposed tower will create.

"We are very concerned about our building being able to survive something that will be 4-and-a-half feet away," said Long.

Members are also worried about traffic, safety and and the wear-and-tear on their club, which will be just feet away from the 330-foot development.

Others who were at the meeting showed opposition to the project because of environmental concerns and because of a shadow they believe the building will cast on Lake Eola.

"Traffic concerns are always a big problem," said Rufus Holloway. "But the beauty of it all and the aesthetics I think are what I want to preserve."

On the flip side, those in favor of the proposal agree with developers and said that area of downtown needs to be revitalized.

"We believe this project is not only going to enhance and activate the park, it's going to provide an iconic skyline for the city of Orlando for years to come," said Micky Gridstaff, a spokesperson for the developer.

The proposal now goes to Orlando City Council in August, which will have the final say.

Opponents said they will appeal the board's decision.

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