Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 6.29.17 PM


UPDATE: This project was approved by the MPB this afternoon.

Back in early May we wrote about a possible multi-family high rise that was being planned for the southwestern corner of Lake Eola.  The Municipal Planning Board is about to vote on it at the next meeting.

The Chicago developer is proposing to build a 28-story tower on at least two lots that currently house a 711 and the historic Lubbe building, which currently houses a collection of Orlando non-profits. The tower designs, as they stand now, also suggest a build-out of an extra 5,925 SF into Central Park to house a central waterfall feature with two bookend cafe/restaurants on either side. The developer has offered to add a number of enhancements to the nearby park space, including outdoor seating, pedestrian pathways and new landscaping along the new property line.

The City states in the developer’s proposal that they must enter an agreement with the City to install the agreed improvements and lease the portion of the park they intend to extend into, prior to being issued a permit. To read the proposal and the City’s recommendations, click HERE.

The proposed use of public land for a private project has resulted in  an outcry from a group of residents to “Save Lake Eola Park.”

A website under that same name has been recruiting residents to attend a Tuesday, July 21 Municipal Planning Board meeting to voice concerns over the loss of public property. Opponents to the development believe that by giving away land from the public park, that the City would be violating the original deed from St. Luke’s Cathedral, that gifted the land to the City of Orlando as long as it was used for public park purposes only.

The group is asking the City for the following actions to be taken:

  • Developer may not encroach on Public Park Land.
  • Build within a 2o-foot setback on East boundary bordering Lake Eola Park.
  • Allow developer to put low deck on Eastern setback inside property line.
  • Height must be stepped down to other buildings adjacent to Lake Eola Park.
  • Invite the City, developer, and private support to craft a plan for relocating the historic Lubbe House to an appropriate location.

We’ve reached out to the City of Orlando for a statement and will post an update on the MPB’s decision when it is made public.


UPDATE: The Office of the Mayor issued the following statement to us regarding this proposed development:

” … proposed plans by the developer include improvements in Lake Eola Park, including a 2-story waterfall feature, new landscaping and hardscaping, and outdoor seating associated with a cafe located in the base of the tower, on private property.  This would require a separate agreement with the City.  If the project is approved, any lease agreement would be a separate public process and subject to City Council approval.  This is not a part of the MPB hearing today.

 While, City planning and park staff have reviewed the proposed improvements and have come to the preliminary conclusion that the improvements align with the vision set forth by Project DTO and the Downtown Outlook Plan and will enhance the beauty of Lake Eola Park and help activate and enliven the park, these items are still in review by the City’s legal department and before a decision is made will come before the City Council for consideration.  This would be a similar process to the one the City went through with Post Parkside for the World of Beer outdoor cafe. This outdoor cafe has proven to activate an unused portion of our Park and has enhanced and provided a new way for residents and visitors to enjoy Lake Eola Park.”

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

Join the Conversation


Have something to say? Type it below. Holding back can give you pimples.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. As a native, artist and designer who grew up going to Lake Eola and who has painted and photographed it many times, I heartily endorse this proposal.  In a hot climate like ours, a little shade in the afternoon is a good thing and this and the adjacent high rise will take what can only be described as a tacky intersection boasting a parking lot and a Seven Eleven and transform them into lively cosmopolitan space.  Let’s do this!

  2. The design isn’t the issue. You’re talking a high rise on property, it sets a bad precedent, the park won’t be enjoyable if it’s on shadows from either this building or others. U want to keep it open

  3. The buildings there now already block the view from the street. With the exception of those living in other highrises the view of the park should not change with the exception of hopefullybeing more lively.

  4. um how do the current two buildings serve the public? The new tower offers two café/restaurants, new landscaping, and a fountain. I live in The Vue and avoid that intersection as it is currently a sketchy homeless hang out.

  5. Bad idea by the Mayor comparing this proposal to World of Beer. WOB did not arrive being attached to a 300 foot building! The city will have to follow the letter of the law on this one. Enforce the setback and no paving over existing park land.

  6. The developer can include the restaurant within its property line. The park experience is enhanced without using park land donated by a church. If the developer is unwilling, the park will survive with 3 restaurants instead of 4.

  7. Residents from the Solaire complaining about their views being blocked while blocking other views and also being a new high rise. I’m not sure which part is confusing you.
    So do you live in the Solaire or 55 west?

  8. Let them build this as of right. Enforce the setback. The Mayor thinks paving over a park is the way to improve it. Bad idea. Ask the church who donated the land if this is what they had in mind.

  9. “This outdoor cafe has proven to activate an unused portion of our Park and has enhanced and provided a new way for residents and visitors to enjoy Lake Eola Park.” but how will the entrance and front of the building (the parts in red and orange) serve the public and not just the residents of that building? I do appreciate the design of the building. It looks a lot like the angebilt and state bank buildings.

  10. UPDATE – we got a statement from the City concerning the encroachment into the park. It will follow the same process and procedure as the World of Beer patio build-out did. Re-check the post to see what they say.

  11. True. But I find that to be ironic considering it’s one of the newest high-rises in Orlando and also blocks views for other buildings.

  12. By the way. Look into Constitution Green. Still no movement and I call weekly. Let me know if you want further info on who to talk with

  13. I agree with them. I think it’s unfair that they’re wanting to encroach on public property and they *should* help the nonprofits in the lubbe building find new homes. How can you oppose those ideas? We must protect these things that belong to all of us or you’ll lose your voice when this is happening to something you actually care about.
    It has nothing to do with view of the lake. I cant think of a residential building with a view from that direction.

  14. You should interview the board of LEHHNA or at least the President. The people who visit lake Eola have their opinions but those that live in the area are should be considered first

  15. This is a good proposal. That corner of the park needs help. It’s sketchy right now and not a good place to hang out. Those opposed mostly just want to preserve their view of the lake.

  16. This is one of the nicest proposals I have seen downtown. I hope it moves forward as designed. This picture isn’t even the latest rendering. It looks much better now.

  17. Spice and wob are ground level, this building will be directly hovering over the lake and casting shadows

  18. Not only do they want to take away some of the park, they want to take down a historic building? No thank you

  19. I moved here just a short while before the construction started. It was a broken down “green space” to be sure with a lot of hiding places. I had just moved from a beautiful condo in downtown Sarasota…where the homeless population was at your front door. One reason I moved here was it is a much more liberal city and we have some grandchildren nearby. This building next door to me will be complete soon…but can one imagine construction on one of the most prized beautiful places in downtown? As a Realtor, I am all for condo development but not at the expense of encroachment on Lake Eola.

  20. At least this tower has some actual design to it (at least shown from the renderings). None of that square, generic looking building that’s been occurring.

  21. I wish people cared this much about the thousands of acres of nature being swallowed up by suburbs every year…

  22. I live in Star Tower. They have been building 420 Artisans (a large rental building next door). Wait until all the people wake up to the 6:30 a.m. noise of development 7 days a week, blocking of streets and cement mixers seemingly forever. It also surrounds the area with dirt. I did not buy in this city for the view…but it would be nice not to overdo the building in this city.

  23. “Save Lake Eola Park” was started by a group of people whose only interest is saving their view of the park from their condos. These same people have no issues with other developments on the park (Spice, World of Beer, etc).