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Developer proposes office tower near Lake Eola

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Developer proposes office tower near Lake Eola

A proposal to build an office tower near Lake Eola would mean the razing of several downtown homes.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/or...0,1543036.story

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Nice houses. I love skyscrapers but I don't think these houses should be razed. Lake Eola needs to retain some Old Florida Charm. I also worry about all these tall buildings circling a medium sized lake. It just may start looking silly.

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I'm all for density, but we should keep these neighborhood assets intact. Let the mid-rises stick to the central bus. district.

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I'm all for density, but we should keep these neighborhood assets intact. Let the mid-rises stick to the central bus. district.

I think most people on this board know that--tell the Mayor and Council what you think: Orlando City Council Index

And if you want to make sure they read it, CC a few columnists at the Sentinel:

Orlando Sentinel Columnists

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I think most people on this board know that--tell the Mayor and Council what you think: Orlando City Council Index

And if you want to make sure they read it, CC a few columnists at the Sentinel:

Orlando Sentinel Columnists

Here's an email I received today, hope you can help out:

A new large, high rise building project has been proposed at Lake Eola Park and is being heard before the Municipal Planning Board on Tuesday, April 15th.

The proposed 200 foot building (20 stories) will be located directly across from the playground

at East Washington and wrap around on Eola Street in an "L shape". This property juts into, and

will be surrounded by the Park on three sides. It's height will cast large shadows over the park and playground.

The developer, Eola Capital, only has the right under current zoning, to build up to a 55 foot (5

story) residential/mixed use building on this site under the City of Orlando's master development plan.

However, Eola Capital has petitioned the City for "provisional future land use." Essentially, they want the public to grant them the right to intensify the use of this property, which adjoins the Park, in violation to the City's approved master plan.

The staff of the Municipal Planning Board is planning to recommend that Eola Capital's request be approved.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

1. Attend the MPB meeting

Tuesday, April 15th

8:30 AM

City Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall

407-246-3408

2. Write the MPB http://www.cityoforlando.net/planning/cityplanning/MPB.htm

Fax MPB: (407)246-2895

E-mail MPB: [email protected]

Call MPB: (407)246-3408

3. Call and E-mail your city commissioner

City Commissioner, District 4* (downtown)

Patty Sheehan [email protected]

(407) 246 - 2004

Patty's Assistant:

Chase Smith

[email protected]

407-246-2106

4. Spread the word. Please BLIND forward this e-mail to as many of your contacts as possible.

WHAT TO SAY

Vote NO to the proposal by Eola Capital to build a 20 story building in Lake Eola Park!

Here are a few talking points that you can use:

1. Eola Capital already has the right to build up to 55 feet. Their property (3 houses on East Washington and two houses on Eola) adjoin the Park on three sides.

2. Lake Eola Park is our only downtown park and the public and area residents want more green space, not less.

3. The proposed building concept will over shadow the park, increase traffic density, increase safety concerns for the children in the playground, and further encroach on the small amount of green visual space available in downtown Orlando.

4. There are already many properties in downtown Orlando that are approved and zoned for unbuilt a high rise commercial buildings where Eola Capital can build without negatively impacting Eola Park. The City of Orlando needs to honor its own master development plan and preserve the limited resource of green space surrounding Lake Eola.

Members of the citizen MUNICIPAL PLANNING BOARD

Dean Asher, Chairman

Mickey Barkett, Vice Chairman

Barbara Alderman

David Bass

Roger Chapin

Maureen Damiani

James B. Kelly III

Kha Le-Huu

Gregory D. Lee

Billy Newton

Lillian Scott

Andrew DeCandis (Non-voting)

ORLANDO CITY COMMISSIONERS

City Commissioner, District 1*

Phil Diamond [email protected]

(407) 246 - 2001

City Commissioner, District 2*

Betty T. Wyman [email protected]

(407) 246 - 2002

City Commissioner, District 3*

Robert F. Stuart [email protected].

(407) 246 - 2003

City Commissioner, District 4* (downtown Orlando)

Patty Sheehan [email protected]

(407) 246 - 2004

City Commissioner, District 5*

Daisy W. Lynum [email protected]

(407) 246 - 2005

City Commissioner, District 6*

Samuel B. Ings [email protected]

(407) 246 - 2006

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can we see a rendering of what they are proposing, jack?

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You know that is not going to happen at this point.

it never hurts to ask ;)

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Nice houses. I love skyscrapers but I don't think these houses should be razed. Lake Eola needs to retain some Old Florida Charm. I also worry about all these tall buildings circling a medium sized lake. It just may start looking silly.

I think that the market will dictate the density of development and truthfully the land is too valuable and inefficient in its current usage. The homes can be deconstructed and moved. They don't have to be destroyed. I'm sure that there will be no shortage of buyers for these pristine properties. Just put them somewhere else. BTW: A lot of downtown homes have been renovated for commercial use. Look at the number of shingles you see advertising attorney's, dentists, accountant's in the neighborhood immediately west of the Lake. Constructing the 15 story building is a natural progression as the local economy grows.

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I do not have a rendering. Those talking points have a few holes in it.

1. Eola Capital already has the right to build up to 55 feet. Their property (3 houses on East Washington and two houses on Eola) adjoin the Park on three sides.

So what is the point. It would not be out of scale in the neighborhood. Eola Dr is the dividing line for height.

2. Lake Eola Park is our only downtown park and the public and area residents want more green space, not less.

Increase taxes for more money to be spent on parks or lobby council to put mor in the budget. (which they should do anyway) If the City did pay for those homes a few years back, they would have gotten their arses handed to them for spending that much money.

3. The proposed building concept will over shadow the park, increase traffic density, increase safety concerns for the children in the playground, and further encroach on the small amount of green visual space available in downtown Orlando.

No one has a right to a view. Suck it up. With more people near the park, it will become safer, not less. Palnning 101. More eyes on the street. Oh no! Will somebody think of the children! And how does it encroach on the green space?

4. There are already many properties in downtown Orlando that are approved and zoned for unbuilt a high rise commercial buildings where Eola Capital can build without negatively impacting Eola Park. The City of Orlando needs to honor its own master development plan and preserve the limited resource of green space surrounding Lake Eola.

Very true about the unbilt parcels. But this s in a key neighborhood. I am not sure of the master plan they are referring to but the future land use is high intensity residential which is 200 ft tall.

I think that the market will dictate the density of development and truthfully the land is too valuable and inefficient in its current usage. The homes can be deconstructed and moved. They don't have to be destroyed. I'm sure that there will be no shortage of buyers for these pristine properties. Just put them somewhere else. BTW: A lot of downtown homes have been renovated for commercial use. Look at the number of shingles you see advertising attorney's, dentists, accountant's in the neighborhood immediately west of the Lake. Constructing the 15 story building is a natural progression as the local economy grows.

I agree. Besides, all of the houses are already commercial. 3 of the four are owned by Eola Capital.

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I think that the market will dictate the density of development and truthfully the land is too valuable and inefficient in its current usage.

The master plan should dictate density, not developers. Value is subjective; I value, as I'm sure many do, historic structures that are relics of Orlando's past.

The homes can be deconstructed and moved. They don't have to be destroyed. I'm sure that there will be no shortage of buyers for these pristine properties.

Owners can hardly give away properties in this market. Who is going to pay to have these homes moved?

Just put them somewhere else. BTW: A lot of downtown homes have been renovated for commercial use. Look at the number of shingles you see advertising attorney's, dentists, accountant's in the neighborhood immediately west of the Lake. Constructing the 15 story building is a natural progression as the local economy grows.

This is a frighteningly similar argument to those who thought it was a good idea to run a highway across lower Manhattan in the 50s by bulldozing SoHo, the Village, and Chelsea. Oh those dirty, inefficient brownstones.

Thank goodness New York had Jane Jacobs.

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This will never happen, but I would like to see...

Turn down Eola Capital

Move the current buildings

Bulldoze what's left, rip up the street and sidewalks and extend Lake Eola Park to Eola Drive with lots of green space.

End of Daydream

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Jack, in BOLD are some of my additional comments to your responses:

I do not have a rendering. Those talking points have a few holes in it.

1. Eola Capital already has the right to build up to 55 feet. Their property (3 houses on East Washington and two houses on Eola) adjoin the Park on three sides.

So what is the point. It would not be out of scale in the neighborhood. Eola Dr is the dividing line for height.

Yes, it's too bad we did not nip this in the bud in the past. It would be nice to keep the Lake Eola Park Block height restricted. Fifty-five feet is bad enough. Last year the city spent 1/2 million dollars on park improvements (mainly the playground) now would be blocked from receiving any daytime sun. That area will turn into a damp moss-pit. It also destroys the view of a good portion of downtown condo residents including 530 E Central, Santuary, Eola South, 101 Eola, Thornton Park Central and Star Towers.

2. Lake Eola Park is our only downtown park and the public and area residents want more green space, not less.

Increase taxes for more money to be spent on parks or lobby council to put mor in the budget. (which they should do anyway) If the City did pay for those homes a few years back, they would have gotten their arses handed to them for spending that much money.

The shadow cast by this monstrosity will harm lake eola park and the nearby vegetation and aesthetically render portions of it unusable.

3. The proposed building concept will over shadow the park, increase traffic density, increase safety concerns for the children in the playground, and further encroach on the small amount of green visual space available in downtown Orlando.

No one has a right to a view. Suck it up. With more people near the park, it will become safer, not less. Palnning 101. More eyes on the street. Oh no! Will somebody think of the children! And how does it encroach on the green space?

You are correct, no one has a right to a view, but there are a lot of view impacted and if enough voices are heard, this project can be prevented from moving forward. Eola street cannot handle the traffic load currently and would have to be ripped apart and many trees removed to support the traffic needs of the new structure. More traffic next to the NEW tot park could lead to accidents with children.

4. There are already many properties in downtown Orlando that are approved and zoned for unbuilt a high rise commercial buildings where Eola Capital can build without negatively impacting Eola Park. The City of Orlando needs to honor its own master development plan and preserve the limited resource of green space surrounding Lake Eola.

Very true about the unbilt parcels. But this s in a key neighborhood. I am not sure of the master plan they are referring to but the future land use is high intensity residential which is 200 ft tall.

I agree. Besides, all of the houses are already commercial. 3 of the four are owned by Eola Capital.

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I didn't think anyone lives in those houses... aren't they attorney's offices? Also, please read between the lines on how it's written: ".. cast shadows over the playground..." Seriously, it was written to evoke emotion. Go to that playground. Hardly does any sun penetrate through the dense Oaks that rise above that end of the park. So long as those stay, I don't see a problem with it. Personally, a kid growing up in Orlando I'd much rather play in a shaded area than in the sun for the majority of the year.

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They CAN build a 5 story building. They are asking to build higher. Does the height really make a difference? Either way, the classic houses are gone; either way the green space is gone; either way we become more urban.

I would suggest we insist on first floor retail/restaurants and ample parking.

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They CAN build a 5 story building. They are asking to build higher. Does the height really make a difference? Either way, the classic houses are gone; either way the green space is gone; either way we become more urban.

I would suggest we insist on first floor retail/restaurants and ample parking.

Height makes a difference with regard to the footprint and scale of the surrounding area. Something like Lowndes would blend in somewhat (that is not my preference, btw, but as noted, I'm not sure we can do here other than to fight the variance - and, I'm sorry, but I don't see anyone building another residential condo downtown anytime soon), whereas, something like 530 E. Central or The Sanctuary is all wrong there, imho.

BTW, whether it's residential or not as far as the houses go is immaterial. It's the scale that matters. Small professional offices are not the same as a high-rise. In fact, local zoning regulations incorporate that difference.

Also, as far as "the market" goes, all those arguments were used when they restricted the zoning in Eola Heights. Had they not done so, it would most likely look a lot like N. Orange Ave. as speculators cleared the land and waited (sometimes decades as we now know) for someone to decide to develop it. Would you really prefer that to what we did with some intelligent zoning? I sure wouldn't.

I am amazed by those who think a city is all about tall buildings. Great cities are neighborhoods. South I-Drive has tall buildings. Would you want to live there? A downtown is all about the roots of the community. If you just start building buildings to build them and profit the developer, that's Maitland Center, that's not a downtown. Maitland Center and Heathrow/Lake Mary have restaurants and a movie theater, but so does every other suburb in America. That's not a downtown.

Perhaps because I live at the very intersection we're discussing, I know from personal experience just what we'll be giving up. The scale at the corner of Eola Drive and Washington St. is perfect for strolling between Eola Park and Thornton Park, and watching the world go by. I often think about what Jane Jacobs wrote about in "The Wealth of Cities" and life at street level as I look out my 2nd floor window. There's also the comparison Armistead Maupin makes about life on Barbary Lane vs. Mary Ann Singleton's drop-dead condo high atop the Summit in "Significant Others" (and if San Francisco isn't the epitome of a city, what is?). Interestingly, today, I watched a group gather to listen to some folks with petitions about this project. It's very different even from the feel sitting outside at one of the restaurants outside the Sanctuary. There is a place for towers downtown; this is not it.

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They CAN build a 5 story building. They are asking to build higher. Does the height really make a difference? Either way, the classic houses are gone; either way the green space is gone; either way we become more urban.

I would suggest we insist on first floor retail/restaurants and ample parking.

exactly.

I do like the homes there, but the truth of it is, the homes are not historically designated, the owner can tear them down at will. And it appears that they are intent on it to expand sqaure footage..

so the question really becomes then...

tear them down and build a 5 story building or tear them down and build a 15 story building.

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I think this will get stopped too much opposition. I am all for development, but this shouldn't go through.

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But they can build a 5 Floor building with no permission.

It is not a question of stopping the building; it is the height.

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But in there lies a financial question... if it is only 5 stories, does the developer really want to go through the expense to build?

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But in there lies a financial question... if it is only 5 stories, does the developer really want to go through the expense to build?

Excellent point! That may be the way out of what, imho, was a poor decision made on the zoning originally.

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Excellent point! That may be the way out of what, imho, was a poor decision made on the zoning originally.

Or an unintended positive outcome in preserving the charm and integrity of the neighborhood! :thumbsup:

But they can build a 5 Floor building with no permission.

Oh yeah, says who?

Edited by prahaboheme

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The City voted on that years ago. It's what they wanted to happen.

Edited by mrh3

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This is a frighteningly similar argument to those who thought it was a good idea to run a highway across lower Manhattan in the 50s by bulldozing SoHo, the Village, and Chelsea. Oh those dirty, inefficient brownstones.

Thank goodness New York had Jane Jacobs.

Praha,

Please don't confuse Robert Moses's development plan which transformed the city of New York in its entirety with 4 pacels of land Downtown Orlando that are already commercial. One brings several parcels of land to their highest and best use. To be honest, I would love to see the park extended. I would love to see Eola Centre bulldozed and have the park extended. There isn't enough green lawn.

That, however isn't the case. The City of Orlando never enforeced eminent domain, never offered money for the properties and this is the result. A private land owner attemping to maximize its right to profit. Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Regarding the homes and purchasing them in the current market: You have to stick a finger in the wind first. They are unique properties, but I think they would fit better out in Winter Garden or Winter Park and converted back into residential use. In their place, of course, I would love to see an iconic tower with a plaza that can seamlessly blend the park and the building. A property like that would command top of the market rents and add to the park.

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