Disney World announces more details for its Affordable and Attainable Housing Initiative

Nov 16, 2022 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Wednesday November 16, 2022 9:09am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Originally announced earlier this year, Disney has today revealed more details about its new Walt Disney World Affordable and Attainable Housing Initiative.

Walt Disney World has selected The Michaels Organization, a prominent developer known for creating homes in communities across the country and here in Central Florida, to build, own and operate a new attainable housing development, offering affordable options for qualifying applicants within certain income levels. Walt Disney World will contribute approximately 80 acres of land in southwest Orange County, Florida, for the development, located west of State Road 429 and just a couple of miles from Flamingo Crossings Town Center. The development is expected to include more than 1,300 units with a construction timetable to still be announced.

Walt Disney World chose The Michaels Organization for its long-standing track record in building and managing attainable housing communities. Negotiations between Walt Disney World and The Michael’s Organization on a definitive agreement for the project are underway. With over 425 communities in more than 35 states, The Michaels Organization has provided comprehensive solutions to affordable housing for many years and is the largest privately held owner of affordable housing in the country. The development will be open for qualifying applicants, including Disney cast members.

“For more than 50 years, Walt Disney World has cared for and invested in our community, and we’re committed to being a part of this solution which will bring more attainable housing to Central Florida,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “We will continue to find ways to use our resources to make a difference in the community we call home, and we’re excited to take this step with a nationally recognized developer.”

The initiative will create new jobs in the Central Florida community through The Michael’s Organization’s construction and ongoing operation of the property. Disney will collaborate with The Michaels Organization throughout its design and construction.

“We are excited to work with an iconic brand like Disney to deliver attainable housing for the Central Florida community,” said Michaels CEO John J. O’Donnell. “Our goal is to create a repeatable model that we hope will inspire other companies and municipalities to create high quality, attainable housing in their own communities.”

The development – which is planned to be privately financed – will be limited to applicants within a certain income range. This initiative will support and build upon Orange County’s Housing for All action plan to address housing affordability for local residents, an action plan brought about by the passion and leadership of Mayor Jerry Demings.

The initiative is one of many ways Disney engages with local leaders to help the community find lasting solutions to this issue, from making monetary donations, to contributing supplies to local organizations in need, to providing assistance through the Disney VoluntEARS program and more. Earlier this year, Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort donated $300K to local food banks to support people in the community facing food insecurity. That donation was just part of the $5.5M Walt Disney World has contributed to important community causes during the ongoing 50th Anniversary celebration, including organizations on the frontline of addressing the need for affordable housing, like Hope Partnership.

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LilofanApr 02, 2024

That's Orlando in a nutshell. A number of apt complexes and a really poor bus transportation for residents that need it. Nothing new here.

flynnibusApr 02, 2024

No - it wasn’t park of the master plan because it was in the district before. Which is ehy i said it was part of the staff report… yet you were going back and forth on what the road can support. The county transportation plan for the roads are outlined.

Disney AnalystApr 02, 2024

The NIMBY’s always have so much time on their hands to attend meetings in droves and be loud grumps.

lazyboy97oApr 02, 2024

You say this isn’t NIMBYism but this is like the most classic example of NIMBYism. A master plan isn’t supposed to be an absolute edict. They’re a big picture, something that should be flexible to accommodate changes in development patterns. Unless of course it is a NIMBY tool intended to only allow certain types of development and provide an excuse to disallow others.

maxairmikeApr 02, 2024

I was there, a group of about 3 to my back and a little further forward in the middle section with one being noticeably louder than the others kept constantly interrupting whoever was speaking. They managed to get them to answer if there was a plan for buses, and they said no. Those people and several others had the “good, we don’t want them” response with plenty of others voicing their agreement. I heard literally no one at the 18th meeting actually suggesting that buses for this development would be a good thing. This is where I will also slam the developers, as I couldn’t believe the flippant and disinterested response I got from the guy at the transportation table when I asked if they had planned for and considered bus transit for the residents. Both parties (the opposed residents and the developers) provided 180 changes at the BCC meeting from what I witnessed and experienced on the 18th. ETA: In fact, I had the pleasure of speaking with I believe the head of county transportation planning at the 18th meeting after Commissioner Wilson directed a question/discussion along those lines to him as he had just walked towards the group around her. I was glad to let him know there was at least one person there who understood that “just one more lane” will never be the real solution, and enjoyed the quick conversation I had.

LAKid53Apr 02, 2024

According to the notes I read from the meeting on the 18th, it was clear there were no plans for any type of bus system. And that lack of buses was in the package presented to the Mayor and commissioners that I read. Not in the "we don't want buses because buses = poor, but that "you've got no mass transit plan for residents of this development? You're asking residents in affordable housing without vehicles to depend on ride sharing, taxis and Lynx?" And it been that in every letter and package to Demings and others that I've read.

maxairmikeApr 02, 2024

Which the residents at the community meeting said they don’t want in their area (because mass transit = poors and crime, that’s always the reason), and then turned around at the BCC meeting chiming in like that was something the developers should be considering to get their approval.

LAKid53Apr 01, 2024

None of the occupied or under construction apartment complexes have 1400 units. Waterleigh is 1400 acres, with plenty of green space, conservation areas, parks and playgrounds for the planned 3600 homes, townhouses and condos. Plus an elementary school is currently under construction in the development. This project is 1400 apartment units on 80 acres.

LAKid53Apr 01, 2024

A mass transit bus system that's not Lynx will be essential for those living in the proposed development. Otherwise, those without a car will be using ride sharing services or taxis.

LAKid53Apr 01, 2024

Horizons West has a master plan. That acreage in the plan was always marked as to be undeveloped. There's already a light at Avalon and Hartzog/Waterway Passage...with turn signals and turn lanes. Same at Seidel, YMCA and Porter. The only improvement that would be beneficial is a light at Schofield. All this was presented to Mayor Demings and commissioners PRIOR to the meeting last Monday. I reviewed the materials.

trainplane3Apr 01, 2024

One thing I've learned about regularly visiting Florida is if housing or shopping can fit in a spot, they're going to stick it there. Traffic concerns have yet to stop anything major from happening.

maxairmikeApr 01, 2024

It’s literally already 4 lanes under the first 429 overpass heading north and they’re currently widening it to 4 lanes at the 2nd overpass… If you mean the Turnpike, that has a published plan already as well on the county website (I’ll maybe find it later when I actually post this after work). The space is there for narrow or divided 4 lanes all the way up to Colonial, with the possible exception of the area around Stoney Brook West Country Club and that big landscaping business. It’s so easy to see the space for widening on Google Maps for most major roads if you actually want to see it, and it’s even more obvious (IMO) when driving to notice the space. It is a case of NIMBYism because I can guarantee you that if the road and other infrastructure concerns were fixed and running at an A LOS 24/7 with school capacity to spare, a lot would find yet more issues with the project. At the community meeting someone asked if there would be buses and when they answered no I heard several people around me say “good, we don’t want those either.” They might get backed into the corner of “home values” and “those people” as the only remaining options, but there’s a not insignificant amount of them. I was both surprised and unsurprised at the 180 in tone between the community meeting and the BCC meeting from those opposing it. Yes, some would say “okay, my concerns are taken care of, make it happen,” but I would put money on it not being a majority.

flynnibusApr 01, 2024

From afar... you have a huge high density, planned community, planned for this area. So, to be against new development because the area is already too crowded and shouldn't have more development seems completely abnormal and detached. The area was planned for over 40 THOUSAND homes. The area isn't even developed yet to a fraction of it's intended design. I get 'you live there' - but the place isn't done building out... so new development is always coming. Buckle up. DCBaker linked it before https://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/disney-world-earmarks-80-acres-for-affordable-housing.977045/post-10875346 PDF - https://www.ocfl.net/Portals/0/Resource%20Library/planning%20-%20development/2023-3-A-1-1%20BCC%20Transmittal.pdf "Planned and Programmed Roadway Improvements: The Work Program and Long Range Transportation Plan includes the planned widening of Avalon Road from two (2) to four (4) lanes, from US 192 to New Independence Parkway. Portions of the road have been improved and the remaining segments are planned partnership projects. Additionally, Hartzog Road has been realigned and is planned to be improved to 4-lanes as a partnership project. Finally, there are intersection improvements including a new signal at Avalon Road and Waterway Passage Drive/Hartzog Road, and an intersection control evaluation at Avalon Road and new Hartzog Road, which is also being signalized in the interim. Since these improvements are planned partnership with no committed construction date, they are reflected in the 2040 horizon year analysis." The long range transportation plan for the area is summarized in the PDF starting at page 103. The traffic study basically says three road segments are projected to exceed their load design just due to normal growth in the coming years, and this change would add one more segment to that.

LAKid53Apr 01, 2024

You have a link to said report? Because as a resident of Waterleigh, I will disagree about the expansion of both Avalon and Hartzog. I've driven Avalon (535) all the way to Colonial and there's no room to expand the road. ESPECIALLY as it passes under 429. I've also read the reports submitted to the Commission which includes traffic studies, environmental impact, etc. To say this is merely a case of NIMBY is frankly insulting to those of us who live there.