ORLANDO, Fla. – Mark Vangroff, managing partner of One Stop Housing, plans to address the housing crisis in Orlando.
The Florida developer is hoping to close on the Ambassador Hotel on West Colonial Drive, near Parramore.
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His company wants to renovate the hotel and convert it to 150 multifamily apartment units.
“Rental prices just are skyrocketing to the point where... good working families, they’re having a hard time finding a place to live,” Vangroff said.
It is an affordable housing project — Vangroff said rent will be income based, averaging $750 a month, utilities included.
The project has two phases. The first will include soft renovations to 50 units that tenants can move into. During phase two, developers will begin to work on the remaining 100 units.
“We’ll be scraping them right down to the cinder block, replacing all the electric, all the plumbing, utilities, full kitchens, oven, stove. They’ll be beautiful by the time they’re done,” Vangroff said.
He said the hotel is a blight property.
“We felt that it would be perfect for us to come and clean up the property invest about ($7 million) in the renovation and make it an asset to the community, as opposed to what it is today,” Vangroff said.
Lori Carroll lives near the hotel. She said the place is ridden with crime.
“Gunshots are something I hear on a regular basis,” she said. “If I tell you how many times I’ve got to chase prostitutes off my street…”
She hopes this new project will revitalize the area and open doors of opportunity for families struggling to find housing.
“I would love to hear the laughter of children behind me and not the beer bottles crashing to the ground and people screaming at each other,” she said.
Commissioner Regina Hill called the establishment predatory to those who pay to stay there.
“…Because they can’t afford anywhere to stay, they’ve had to pay $300 per week just to find shelter,” Hill said.
She praised Vangroff for his efforts to help families secure a home in this kind of budget, hoping projects like this persist around the city.
Vangroff’s company renovated another proper in Orlando called Colonial Gardens. He said the families are happy, and since One Stop Housing took over, there has been little-to-no crime at the complex.
The developer said if they proceed with the project, renovations should be completed by fall 2023.
The next community forum will be Wednesday at the College Park Neighborhood center at 6:30 p.m.