Downtown Orlando developments signal improving economy

Developers predict demand for new housing projects

ORLANDO, Fla. - New developments, including a six-story, mixed-use complex called "NORA," are signals of an improving economy in Central Florida, according to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

While downtown Orlando has been flooded with vacant housing for the past few years, the "NORA" development on North Orange Avenue and Marks Street will provide even more housing, and developers predict there will be a demand for these new additions.

"We have a ground breaking or a ribbon cutting just about every day for the last month," said Dyer. "That suggests to me our economy is coming back. We're moving out of recession into recovery."

NORA will be a mixed-use complex that will feature 246 luxury apartments, a resort-style swimming pool and 10,000 square-feet of retail space, including a new restaurant.

Developers of this land purchased the property nearly eight years ago, but the housing market collapse delayed their dreams.

"We were actually close to building two high-rise towers in about 2007," said Adam Ginsberg of GDC Properties, "Thankfully we held back and waited until the time was right."

City officials say that the downtown rental market is at 96 percent occupancy right now, with high demand from singles and empty-nesters who want to move here.

Developers believe the same, as many like Ginsberg are investing in Orlando projects.

"While we've pulled out of other areas and redeployed our equity and capital into the area we come from, New York City, Orlando is a place we believe in," Ginsberg said.

The NORA development project is a $50 million project. Mayor Dyer said engineers and architects are drawing up other plans for similar projects throughout the city as well.

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