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Universal Orlando and Orange County Housing Initiative

Joe

aka TestTrack321
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 15, 2012
12,942
Pittsburgh, PA

More news as it breaks.

For those who don’t know the Orlando Sentinel has been posting a weekly series on “Laborland”, the working poor who support the parks. Topics include pay, poor public transit, and the terrible state of housing in Orlando.
 

Cup_Of_Coffee

Veteran Member
Aug 7, 2018
4,251
Well I'm not as familiar with the topic but as someone who's looking into potentially moving to Orlando the "terrible state of housing" certainly isn't encouraging!
 

Legacy

Veteran Member
Jul 27, 2015
7,238
If Universal is going to build a whole bunch of affordable housing with the EU expansion, I applaud the decision. It’s cynical, sure. It’s based on their need for more workers while recognizing the state of Orlando’s economy. Anything helps, though. And, putting affordable housing on I-Drive is a win-win for the tourist corridor.

I’m curious about the scale they’re going for though. If they’re going 500+ homes/apartments, then it’s a huge improvement.
Well I'm not as familiar with the topic but as someone who's looking into potentially moving to Orlando the "terrible state of housing" certainly isn't encouraging!
Orlando is a service-based economy and, only until recently, the majority of jobs made less than $9 an hour. It isn’t, so much, “terrible state of housing” in Orlando (though the housing market is insanely overpriced), it’s the terrible state of affordable housing.
So maybe Universal is going to build on some of the outparcels. Company towns ala WDW?
WDW is only open to College Program members, and is closer to dorms than housing. Once you’re no longer CP, even if you stay with the company, you’re out.

Because this is a formal partnership with Orange County, I feel like this will be open to the community. That’s a huge difference. Maybe Universal employees will receive unique perks (like free utilities. OMG that would be huge), but I hope this is public.
 
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darkridelover

Premium Member
May 5, 2012
1,706
Well I'm not as familiar with the topic but as someone who's looking into potentially moving to Orlando the "terrible state of housing" certainly isn't encouraging!
Right, basically rents have doubled in Orlando in the last 10 years, but the largest employers in the area (Theme parks and service industry) haven't really increased pay much. Causing employees to have to share houses with 3 or 4 roommates in order to afford to live in the area. These aren't temporary workers either, these are people who have made careers at the parks but the companies pay them next to nothing and increasingly ask them to do more. It's good to see Universal trying to help fix this problem while Disney keeps building gated communities for millionaires on their property.
 

Cup_Of_Coffee

Veteran Member
Aug 7, 2018
4,251
Right, basically rents have doubled in Orlando in the last 10 years, but the largest employers in the area (Theme parks and service industry) haven't really increased pay much. Causing employees to have to share houses with 3 or 4 roommates in order to afford to live in the area. These aren't temporary workers either, these are people who have made careers at the parks but the companies pay them next to nothing and increasingly ask them to do more. It's good to see Universal trying to help fix this problem while Disney keeps building gated communities for millionaires on their property.
I believe Universal has promises to up their pay to $15 an hour once EU opens? Wish it was a tad higher but I'm glad they're making this move as well.
 

bob albert

BANNED
Sep 18, 2015
1,710
Yep growth in industries in Orlando outside of tourism that pay better have driven a lot of the housing market beyond what people can afford on park salaries. even 5 or 6 years ago some of the park employees I talked to said they did alright even with low wages due to affordable prices.
 
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Legacy

Veteran Member
Jul 27, 2015
7,238
I believe Universal has promises to up their pay to $15 an hour once EU opens? Wish it was a tad higher but I'm glad they're making this move as well.
All the parks are, but it’s specifically because the Disney unions held firm during the previous CBA negotiations. Disney agreed to $15 an hour for union workers, which necessitated the other parks to match it or risk losing their workforce.
 

Cup_Of_Coffee

Veteran Member
Aug 7, 2018
4,251
All the parks are, but it’s specifically because the Disney unions held firm during the previous CBA negotiations. Disney agreed to $15 an hour for union workers, which necessitated the other parks to match it or risk losing their workforce.
Ah I see, got it.
 
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Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
19,508
Pittsburgh area
The rental and housing ownership markets throughout most of the country are in the same situation. Builders basically quit building starter and small homes a couple of decades ago. In the meantime, the remaining lower level housing stock has, in part, deteriorated, so there's less available low end rental & purchase property available. And the population has also been increasing. Typical demand and supply situation which is skyrocketing rental rates and small housing purchase prices. Even in areas like some of the deteriorating closed midwestern mill towns,rentals prices are jumping. And in more prosperous areas, it's even worse. It's a tough situation for young families and low to moderate income people just about everywhere.
 
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tielo

Veteran Member
Nov 9, 2013
2,171
The Netherlands
In the Netherlands in 1910 electronic company Philips build many homes for their workers. Housing was a huge problem in Eindhoven. They also did it for their other factories.
It's smart in many ways.
  1. It makes it possible to offer affordable homes to their workers.
  2. People who are not from that region would have a place to stay when they move there to work for the company.
  3. The costs for the project will be paid from the rent the renters pay. In probably 15/20 years the project will break even (faster if the money for the project is out of pocket) after that they will earn money from the properties. (the homes in Eindhoven are still there after 119 years).
 

AlexanderMBush

Legendary Member
Nov 23, 2013
17,680
Arizona
If anything, it reminds me of the Evolution Plan in some way; in that the original plan for NBCUniversal would've included a strong element of building housing in a various manner of ways (but in that case, it would've costed studio property in a massive way). I'm interested to see if this is going to go as..in-depth as that of the original Evolution Plan, or to do something different and use the lands outside of the main parcels (alongside perhaps one of those closer to the I-Drive 360).
 

Legacy

Veteran Member
Jul 27, 2015
7,238
So it will be able to house like 200 people, if that. Ugh.
Affordable housing is typically apartment style, not houses on plots of land.

Twenty acres can actually a huge amount. There's some affordable housing near UCF that I use to live across from. It's on about three acres and has about 1,400 apartments on it (1-3 bedrooms). Based on that, I think we could underestimate about 400 apartments ("homes") per acre. At that, 20 acres can give you 8,000 apartments between 1-3 bedrooms. That can support between 15,000-20,000 people without breaking a sweat.

That's bananas, and definitely a step in the right direction. The mass transit hub will make it even more attractive.
 

Cup_Of_Coffee

Veteran Member
Aug 7, 2018
4,251
Affordable housing is typically apartment style, not houses on plots of land.

Twenty acres can actually a huge amount. There's some affordable housing near UCF that I use to live across from. It's on about three acres and has about 1,400 apartments on it (1-3 bedrooms). Based on that, I think we could underestimate about 400 apartments ("homes") per acre. At that, 20 acres can give you 8,000 apartments between 1-3 bedrooms. That can support between 15,000-20,000 people without breaking a sweat.

That's bananas, and definitely a step in the right direction. The mass transit hub will make it even more attractive.
A much more fair assessment on this, thanks for the info. I think the key will be how high they can make these buildings exactly, as that will be able to suit more people obviously. If it can hold 15-20K more people, thats just a little above the number of new people they said will be employing once Epic opens. A step in the right direction for sure.