South Downtown is envisioned to be a vibrant, recognizable, mixed-use, multi-modal neighborhood that thrives on the synergies afforded by the Orlando Health Medical Campus. Momentum continues to build with the development of several key projects, including the newly completed Heart Hospital as a replacement of the ORMC General Adult Hospital. These investments total over $1 billion dollars and generate up to 16,000 high-paying jobs. The Sodo mixed-use project brings new retail and restaurants along with more than 300 multi-family apartments. SunRail, the new regional commuter rail system with a stop at the existing Amtrak/Orlando Health station signifies the beginning of a multi-modal hub. Recently, the Downtown South Neighborhood Improvement District has come into existence to coordinate public improvements to the area.
Today, South Downtown struggles with the influence of indigents, lack of affordable workforce housing, disconnected street network, overcrowded arterial roadways and parcel fragmentation. Nevertheless, the area is well positioned for redevelopment. Underutilized Industrial land will face extreme development pressure as the years go by, leading to unpredictability for what the future will bring.
This South Downtown Vision Plan and associated modifications to the City of Orlando Growth Management Plan (GMP) provide a vision and framework for responding to development proposals.
Together, they allow the flexibility needed to respond more readily to a market conditions. This new found predictability is the foundation for enabling change within South Downtown and is meant to:
- Accommodate future development within the Orlando Health campus;
- Accommodate new medical office, retail and residential development outside the Orlando Health campus;
- Encourage mixed-use development in proximity to the proposed commuter rail station;
- Support redevelopment and intensification of industrial areas along I-4; and
- Protect existing property rights, so existing businesses can continue to flourish.
This Plan also explores the type and amount of development that could be constructed today without changes to existing regulations, includes a market study to project the absorption of uses over the next 20 years, and identifies the transportation and infrastructure improvements needed to accommodate new development.
South Downtown offers an opportunity to create a signature place in the City where great medicine is practiced in an active and diverse environment. Improved healthcare service, economic development and the creation of an interesting place to live and work can all come together in South Downtown.