Citi Tower is Orlando's newest high rise project, and it could be a sign of a growing economy. The 22-story building will be built in the South Eola neighborhood in Thornton Park and bordered by E. Pine Street to the north, Lake Ave. to the west and E. Church Street to the south. Downtown Development Board Executive Director Thomas Chatmon is thrilled with the designs the city has been shown.
"I think architecturally it's an outstanding project. It would actually be iconic for our skyline."
The property is currently a parking lot for the close by Lutheran Towers, a retirement community. Chatmon says there will be at least 235 residential units in that 22 story building.
"It's a good time, particularly for residential, and we're holding at about 91 or 92 percent occupied for all of our rental residential in downtown, so the market is still strong."
Plans also call for more than 20,000 square feet of commercial space. Many in downtown have lamented the lack of retail in the city core. Chatmon says with the additional shops that will come with this new project, downtown continues to round into shape.
"We're at about 15,000 people living in downtown area now, and the old saying is that retail follows rooftops. So the more residential you have, then there's a need to supply on a 24-hour basis, the needs of those people that live in downtown."
Several projects are underway now in the center part of Orlando, and Chatmon believes it is a sign Orlando's economy has improved.
"Developers are starting to develop again, particularly in urban cores like ours where they see a chance at realizing a positive return on their investment and that's good for us."
It will be a busy year in downtown Orlando with the start of SunRail service, a Lymmo expansion that will add an East-West line plus a North-South route to the two hospitals, and in November the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts will open as well.