New affordable-housing complex opens in Parramore

Some longtime residents say they're concerned about being pushed out

PARRAMORE, Fla. – New growth, development and housing options in and near downtown Orlando have left many Parramore residents with mixed opinions.

Some families say they're excited, others are wondering if those lower prices will be low enough for them to afford.

On Tuesday, residents joined city leaders at Parramore Oaks on Parramore Avenue for a ribbon-cutting of the newly transformed affordable housing complex. The apartments officially open this Friday. 

It's a mixed-used property that will include 80% affordable housing. 

Thelma Wilkerson is a lifelong Parramore resident. She was at the Parramore Oaks ribbon-cutting. She told News 6 she's happy about the new housing property in her community, but fears the recent housing options in and around Parramore may not be beneficial for all Parramore residents. 

"You need to look at the people who are already here. You can't put the people who are already here in Parramore on the back and bring everyone else up to the front," Wilkerson said. "The more it grows, you want it to grow with the people who are already here." 

City Commissioner Regina Hill said the city worked with the developer to ensure that the Parramore Oaks property can benefit the residents of Parramore.

At the same time, there has been lots of new development a few blocks away in downtown Orlando. The University of Central Florida and Valencia College recently opened a campus downtown. Plus, EA Sports recently announced plans to relocate from its Maitland location to downtown Orlando. 

Also on Tuesday, News 6 learned that cost for a proposed sports-entertainment venue across from the Amway Center has now doubled to more than $500 million. There will be retail stores, an event center, a hotel, and much more.

"I love Parramore in the sense that I want to see it thrive. I think we've been down too long," Wilkerson said.

News 6 asked the city of Orlando about plans to address the affordable housing crisis through the city, specifically for Parramore residents. A spokesperson sent News 6 the following statement: 

"The City of Orlando is committed to ensuring that every person, regardless of economic status, has access to quality housing that is safe and affordable and has been working to develop residents short and long-term strategies to expand the city's housing inventory for at all income levels. To accomplish this goal, the City of Orlando has and continues to make significant investments and forge new partnerships to develop and rehab quality housing units for our residents.  

"The City of Orlando and CRA have committed more than $19 million to increase our inventory of housing for residents at all income levels within Downtown Orlando. This includes partnering to build 467 new multifamily housing units, rehabilitating 113 residential rental units and constructing 64 new single family housing units.  

"In the last five years, the city has invested or committed more than $38 million to create or preserve housing options for residents at all income levels. This includes the construction or rehabilitation of nearly 1,500 multifamily units and the construction of more than 150 new residences (single family residences and duplexes) that provide homeownership opportunities for residents interested in pursuing the American dream of homeownership."

About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.