Colonialtown South, which was designated a local Historic District in 2000, is generally located south of Hillcrest Street, north of East Robinson Street, East of Shine Avenue and West of Hampton Street. The neighborhood developed over six decades through a series of real estate booms and busts of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The earliest subdivision was platted in the area in 1883, but the largest was developed and promoted by Carl Dann in 1913. Dann was a prominent developer who platted some sixty subdivisions in Orange County, including parts of College Park, Dubsdread, Lake Lawsona, and Lake Eola Heights.
In Colonialtown South, the majority of residential construction occurred during the 1920s Florida Land Boom. Houses generally were small- to medium-sized structures that were common for the middle class. The neighborhood experienced a second period of growth between the Depression and the start of World War II. The houses during this time were even smaller due to the financial constraints of the period. This neighborhood exemplifies these two periods of development. Colonialtown South is one of the most intact neighborhoods in the City that represents the final years of a traditional development pattern. This type of development, which occurred over many years, was typical until GIs returning home from World War II created such a demand for new housing that large suburban neighborhoods began to be built all at once. These new housing developments were most often built by one single builder for resale.
The Colonialtown South neighborhood contains a distinctive collection of historic buildings, a majority of which display formal styling. The presence of buildings constructed in the popular styles of the day, indicates awareness by residents and builders of the significance of erecting buildings that reflected specific historical and modern associations. Certain styles, including the Bungalow and the Minimal Traditional were thoroughly modern concepts in their eras. Local builders and architects took design cues from the most advanced designers of their day and concocted designs that were appropriate for the Central Florida climate. Builders and architects also looked back into history when creating Colonial Revival, Mediterranean Revival, Mission, Prairie, and Tudor Revival houses for their clients in Colonialtown South.
The subdivision layouts, brick streets, street trees, and buildings of Colonialtown South are all physical reminders of the cultural, economic, social, and historic heritage of the City of Orlando.
Before you make certain exterior changes to your property, a Certificate of Appropriateness must first be issued by the Historic Preservation Board.
Exterior changes that will minimally impact the appearance of a structure such as re-roofing, fences, paving, and repair with matching materials can be expedited by the Minor Review Committee of the Board in 2 to 10 days. Major modifications that would significantly impact a property in the district, such as alterations, additions, new construction, relocation, and demolition, require a hearing of the Board for approval. Expect approximately seven weeks from the closing date until the Certificate of Appropriateness is issued. The City charges a $50 fee for a Certificate of Appropriateness.
There are exceptions to these requirements. Approval does not have to be obtained for landscaping; any change to the exterior that is not subject to view from one or more public streets or parks; paint color, roof color; and emergency repair that will not change the exterior design.
The City takes an active role in preserving the architectural heritage of the Colonialtown South Historic District and offers a property tax exemption for contributing buildings in the district. The City offers a property tax exemption to property owners for the substantial rehabilitation of contributing structures in the district. This 10-year exemption applies to 100% of the City’s portion of the property taxes attributed to the increase in property value due to rehabilitation. The exemption period remains intact with the sale of the property.
For further information regarding the Colonialtown South Historic District or questions concerning modifications to structures or property within the district, contact the Historic Preservation Officer at 407.246.3350, or the Historic Preservation Board recording secretary at 407.246.3416. The Office of Permitting Services, located on the ground floor of City Hall, can assist you with questions regarding the necessary permit(s) for your project. Contact Permitting at 407.246.2271.