Walt Disney World, located in Lake Buena Vista near Orlando, Florida, is taking aim at the nation’s affordable housing crisis.
A year after it was first announced, Disney has selected a developer to build a sprawling affordable housing development on 80 acres of land in southwest Orange County. It can be used as a repeatable blueprint for similar projects to be built in other municipalities across the country. .
The company plans to build over 1,300 new homes. The property is just a few miles from the Magic Kingdom.
The privately funded project is located west of Route 429, just a few miles from the expanding Flamingo Crossing Town Center retail and restaurant complex and near schools and shopping.
After extensive research, Disney selected Michael’s Organization, a renowned global developer with over 425 communities in over 35 states, to build, own and operate the development.
Negotiations are underway between Disney and Michaels on a final agreement for this initiative.
Residential units under development will be open to applicants and Disney Cast Members within certain income ranges.
According to Disney, the project will provide a viable solution to one of the nation’s biggest challenges and will also support an action plan for Orange County housing to address housing affordability for local residents. increase.
“For over 50 years, Walt Disney World has cared for and invested in our community, and we are committed to being part of this solution to bring more homes to Central Florida.” said Jeff Valle, President of Walt Disney World Resort. “We will continue to find ways to use our resources to make a difference in the communities we call home. Taking this step with our nationally recognized developers.” I am excited about it.”
This initiative will create new construction and design jobs for the community and additional employment opportunities for subsequent ongoing operations.
Additional details, including a construction timeline, will be shared in the future, according to Disney.
“The lack of affordable housing is affecting many people across the country, including here in central Florida,” says Vahle.
“With this initiative, we are leveraging our strengths to help us make a real and meaningful impact in our communities.”
Michaels CEO John O’Donnell said the company is thrilled to be working with an iconic brand like Disney.
“Our goal is to create a replicable model that we hope will inspire other businesses and local governments to build high-quality, attainable housing in their communities.”
According to Disney, the latest residential project has been in the works for some time. The company is working to offset the country’s housing crisis as the cost of both new and rental housing rises dramatically.
Central Florida rents outpace housing market gains. Recent data from Rent.com shows that the average Orlando apartment price has increased 38% year-over-year. This is well above the national 20% and is typically up 5% a year.
Disney has a long track record of helping communities with underserved housing needs and has spent years investing in local nonprofits at the forefront of important community causes.
A few years ago, California’s Disneyland Resort led an effort to activate a housing trust that provides “last mile” funding for affordable housing projects in Anaheim, California.
This initiative resulted in the Buena Esperanza Project. This motel has been converted into studio apartments for veterans and homeless people with mental illness. In addition to providing them with a place to live, the community provides residents with job placement and mental health and wellness support.
A second project, Finamore Place in Anaheim, was also built with Disney’s investment. Has over 100 additional housing units
Disney has worked with local leaders to help communities find solutions to their housing problems. This includes monetary donations, material donations to local organizations in need, and assistance provided through the Disney VoluntEARS program.
In 2022, Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort will donate $300,000 to local food banks to help those in communities facing food shortages. This donation is only a portion of his $5.5 million that Disney World has contributed to community causes and organizations that address the need for affordable housing during his 50 years of ongoing service.th anniversary celebration.