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Update October 17, 2014: The developers have asked for an extension of the second reading. This will push the second reading to November 3.

We’ve been telling you about The Princeton at College Park apartment complex that is being proposed along Princeton St and Smith St.

At yesterdays City Council meeting the commissioners voted to amend the current ordinance that would have allowed the project to move forward and require the developer to shift some of the density away from the middle of the project. This would reduce the height from five stories to four stories and four stories to three stories in the middle of the project.

This change would put the project into strict compliance with the Edgewater Drive Vision Plan. A plan that the community worked to put together five years ago.

The building, as currently designed, starts as a five-story building and then goes to four and then three. The plan allows for the building to go from a seven story building down to four and then three.

The current building at five stories is less than the seven the plan calls for, but the five-story and four-story area goes too far into the neighborhood into the are that the plan only allows for three stories.

This is really the only exception the developer was asking for.

Despite what other media outlets are reporting, the City Council did not actually vote to scale back the project. The developer could actually keep the number of units the same by removing the top one or two floors where it’s over the height maximums and move those units to the part of the building that is closest to Edgewater Drive and make the building seven stories in that portion.

Here’s a rending from the City of Orlando Staff that shows the potential change:

Courtesy City of Orlando
Courtesy City of Orlando

We spoke with the project developer Anthony Everett who told Bungalower there’s a good chance they won’t be going any higher than the five stories.

“We don’t think going seven stories is the right decision,” he said. “We think that would only aggravate our neighbors and we are trying to reach a resolution that works for us and as many of our neighbors as possible.”

The issue now is that the project may not be financially feasible for them.

“We will do our best to comply with the plan, but we have tried many different scenarios to try to comply with the plan. We didn’t ask for a slight modifications of the transect requirements because we wanted to; we asked for them because we thought we needed them to make the project viable,” he told Bungalower.

Commissioner Robert Stuart, whose district includes College Park, proposed the amendment to put the project into strict compliance with the plan.

“Our call is to look at where the community needs to go,” Stuart said at the meeting. “If they can’t make any money doing that then that is their choice,” he added.

The two commissioners who spoke out with concerns on the project were Commissioners Patty Sheehan and Tony Oritz.

Sheehan was the only one to express concerns with the project and process itself. Her concerns centered around the developer getting a bonus for being a mixed-use project when they are not redeveloping the commercial area along Edgewater Drive. Some of the other commissioners sounded as if they had just heard about the project and seemed to not be OK with voting on a project that people from the community were against.

The amendment also puts a limit on the future commercial development on that site and requires any changes made to the plan to come to City Council for approval.

The amendment passed six to one, but the ordinance, with the amendment attached to it, passed four to three.

The next City Council meeting is in three weeks. At that point the developer could be presenting a plan that puts the project into strict compliance with the vision plan.

You can read our previous coverage of The Princeton at College Park here.

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  1. I was on the Edgewater Drive Task Force and the common feedback was future development along Edgewater Drive as perceived by a pedestrian on these core blocks should be lower than the Wellsley by at least a floor.
    The “win” or decision or stipulation to make the ED frontage seven stories goes against what the opponents requested 5 years ago…hence arguing against one element while ignoring the impact to others. Sad.
    BTW, how about turning Princeton and Smith back into one way pairs? That will make both streets much calmer, reduce speeds, reduce some traffic and offer network options. These are currently 3 lane high speed roads focused primarily on cars and not people. Streets treat pedestrians, cars, retail and residential uses much more equitably.

  2. After listening to many opponents of the project, the basic target is increased traffic through the neighborhoods. I have learned that the definition of terms is key in productive discussions and believe that many people are arguing against, or worse, parroting what other like minded people have told them without fully understanding the bigger picture or considering the other factors that come along with developing or not developing.
    Here is a link which hopefully gives everyone some common definitions. I know that folks on both sides of this project have knowledge but more is always better.

  3. It’s unfortunate the city council wouldn’t approve their request. I hope the project remains viable for the developer and it continues to go up in some fashion. Density in certain areas is vital to thriving communities and the island between Princeton and Smith looks to be quite ideal, I’m sure business owners on Edgewater would have enjoyed it. Density doesn’t create traffic, too much parking and sprawl does.

  4. Could someone please explain why they are calling this a “mixed use” project? They are adding no retail? Ms. Sheehan at both council meetings asked this question but was never answered? Anybody??

  5. All the crusade did was guarantee the community will have no say in the building’s design except that it will have to be “conforming”. And somehow some people think this is a great victory for College Park. I’ve got to scratch my head on that one.

  6. For the record we came out in support of this project in the Our Take column, as have many people who live in the area. Not going to rehash the argument but a lot of us don’t think this will ruin College Park at all.

  7. The issue with condos/townhomes is the price per square foot you have to charge now vs construction prices and property prices. From what developers are telling me it just doesn’t add up in some areas.It would be great to see more townhome/rowhome/brownstone style three story properties on the East Princeton & Smith.

  8. Instead of apartments, why not develop higher end townhomes like another developer is doing downtown – Brownstones at Thornton Park.

  9. of course it doesn’t work for them for financial reasons. they want to maximize the profitability of the project. the solution is no one wants them here so they shouldn’t build at all. Buddy Dyer and Robert Stuart are the only ones left who want to ruin College Park and allow this project to happen. makes sen$e.

  10. “We don’t think going seven stories is the right decision,” he said. “We think that would only aggravate our neighbors and we are trying to reach a resolution that works for us and as many of our neighbors as possible.”

  11. Still WAY too many units for that area and a significant change to an area that people have bought homes in, in part, because the neighborhood is primarily owner occupied single family homes. Really disappointed in this all the way around.