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Sharley

Where to live in Orlando?

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Hi!

We are contemplating a move to Orlando. My husband would be working in Lake Nona, which appears to be in the middle of no where. (?)

What we are looking for:

Family friendly

Good schools

Walk able-to parks, places to eat, etc

Not a horrid commute.

What are your best suggestions? We prefer neighborhoods like Va Highlands in Atlanta, but good schools and not a horrid commute could trump unique and fun, to a certain extent. Hopefully we can get it all. ;)

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Not sure about the quality of their schools but if a walkable community is important to you, there aren't a whole lot of options that fit your other criteria. A couple that spring to mind are the new urbanism town centers of Celebration and Avalon Park.

 

Winter Park is great as well but it's about 20 miles from Lake Nona and on the other side of town so I feel like the commute could be a pain depending on your level of tolerance.

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One thing to keep in mind is Lake Nona is developing really, really fast, and has decent schools. There was nothing at all a few years ago, but the medical city really is pushing a lot of development very quickly with many parks planned and obviously a very short commute. With numerous new facilities opening in the next year or 2, a lot of jobs are going to be created so its going to build out fairly quickly.

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Having been to Virginia Highlands, I think you should check out Thornton Park or Audobon Park. Another up and coming area is the Orange & Michigan "Downtown South" area. Generally the nice inventory is only on the northeast quadrant, with the SoDo apartments on the NW corner being the exception but the Pineloch area is going to be exciting to follow.

Celebration and Avalon offer safe® routes to schools and walking/biking friendlier routes to some amenities - but your commute will be horrendous for most things unless you both have jobs in the immediate area. The "Work Here" part of "Live Here Work Here Play Here" rarely works out in these NU communities. Baldwin Park is an exception as they were able to get a lot of land very close to downtown Orlando and stitches nicely into the neighboring neighborhoods.

A lot of Winter Park is great as is parts of Maitland. If you're thinking long term, you would be wise to look into what the Cities of Lake Mary and Longwood are planning around their SunRail stations.

I had a chance to talk to someone involved in the Harmony project (a community on 192 east of St Cloud) and he pointed out that their community was one of the only places where you could really walk to all grade levels of school. I reminded him that the Delaney Park/Wadeview Park area also gave its residents this ability (Blankner K-8, Boone) but unfortunately the examples are few and far between in our region.

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Celebration to Lake Nona is about 15 minutes on the 417 (door to door), so the commute would certainly be manageable.  Another option is to look in Lake Nona itself, which is building new urbanism communities with sustainability in mind.  Certainly it isn't Virginia Highlands, nor is it Thornton Park, Audubon Park, or a number of other more interesting areas of Orlando, but it is sure to be a decent ROI in the years to come (if you can manage to hold out a good 10 years).

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