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Universal Pledges 20 Acres For Affordable Housing As $125M Tax Break Vote Looms

Universal Orlando pledged 20 acres for affordable housing.

Universal Orlando is pledging 20 acres of land for the affordable housing crisis in Orange County. The announcement comes the day before Orange County will be asked to give $125 million in tax breaks to Universal.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Orlando has the worst affordable housing crisis in the U.S. with just 13 affordable housing units available for every 100 residents who need one. Universal Orlando CEO John Sprouls said Universal is very aware of Orlando’s affordable housing crisis.

“By donating the land, we ought to be able to make it extremely affordable because whoever ends up ultimately developing the land doesn’t have to pay for the land costs.”

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings made the announcement Monday. Further details are not yet available, but Demings said the project would most likely be a mixed-use high rise with up to 1,000 units.

“Universal will also make an additional three acres of land available for mass transit in that area,” Demings said. “As you know, we see the two issues intertwined together, both transportation or transit and housing affordability.”

The donation comes the day before Orange County Commissioners vote whether or not Universal will get $125 million in tax breaks. That’s to extend Kirkman Road, which would be used for Universal’s new Epic Universe theme park.

The proposed tax breaks have been controversial.

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Abe Aboraya

About Abe Aboraya

Health Reporter

Abe Aboraya started writing for newspapers in High School. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe ... Read Full Bio »