ORLANDO, Fla. — Universal Parks & Resorts is hoping to break ground a new affordable housing community in Orange County sometime in 2022 and is currently searching for a developer for the project, the company announced Friday. 

What You Need To Know

  • Universal donating land for affordable housing community

  • Community would consist of 1,000 high-quality apartments

  • The land is a 20-acre site off International Drive

  • Universal is seeking a developer and hopes to break ground in 2022

Universal is donating a 20-acre site off International Drive for the project, which is part of an initiative with the county to help solve the housing affordable housing crisis in Central Florida. 

The community will consist of about 1,000 high-quality apartments, Universal said. It will work to ensure the property is used for affordable housing in perpetuity.

As part of the project, Universal created a Housing for Tomorrow initiative that consists of Universal employees and community leaders, who will oversee the process. The website was launched Friday and includes an overview for the project as well as the initiatives vision. 

"We believe access to affordable housing is a human right," a statement on the website read. "We strongly support the findings of Orange County's Housing for All Task Force. We will play an active, leadership role in helping our community move solutions forward."

Community leaders who are part of the initiative include Terry Prather, who co-chaired the Housing for All Task Force and Maria Triscari, president of the International Drive Resort Area Chamber of Commerce.

“I am thrilled that Universal has stepped up to the plate to help solve the affordable housing challenge, an issue that affects us all,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said in a statement. “I am also very proud of the results produced by the Housing for All Task Force.”

Universal has begun a nationwide search for a developer to design, build and manage the affordable housing community. Universal said it will manage the selection process as well as work with Orange County to create the development agreement.

A request for qualifications has been issued and developers who specialize in affordable housing are invited to express interest. The deadline for submission is November 2.

Universal plans to select the final developer candidate by the first quarter of 2021.