Disney is allocating almost 80 hectares of its land for affordable housing

Walt Disney World has allocated nearly 80 acres of its land next to Central Florida’s famous theme parks to build more than 1,300 affordable housing units.

The announcement came less than a week after Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would consider repealing a 55-year law that allows companies to govern themselves after Disney publicly spoke out against the so-called “Don’t Tell Gays” law. ».

“Disney has now pushed many people away, so the political influence they are used to enjoying, I think, has dissipated,” DeSantis said at a news conference in West Palm Beach in late March.

“And so the question is, why do you have any special privileges in the law? And I don’t think we should. “

The company announced its plans for new development in Orange County on Wednesday, noting that it is still “at an early stage of planning and subject to appropriate approvals.”

The project, which has not yet been named, will be located in a Disney-owned area near downtown Flamingo Crossings, just a 15-minute drive from the Magic Kingdom Park, and will be built by an “outstanding” third-party affordable housing developer.

The building is expected to include more than 1,300 units, offering residents a variety of housing options that, as Disney has promised, will be “affordable and affordable”.

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On Wednesday, Walt Disney World Resort announced that it has allocated 80 acres of its land in Orange County, Florida, to build more than 1,300 affordable housing units (an artistic depiction of the future community pictured above)

The new building will be about a 15-minute drive from the famous Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Park

The new building will be about a 15-minute drive from the famous Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Park

Gov. Ron DeSantis last week signed a law on parental rights in education that bans sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten until third grade - a law that strongly opposes Disney

Gov. Ron DeSantis last week signed a law on parental rights in education that bans sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten until third grade – a law that strongly opposes Disney

Walt Disney’s “Magic Kingdom”: How the 1967 Act Allowed the Company to Manage Its Huge Domain in Florida

The Reed Creek Improvement Area, a special-purpose semi-private government, is controlled by Disney.

It was created in 1967 when then-Florida Gov. Claude Kirk, a Republican, signed the Reed Creek Improvement Act, which allows him to regulate land use, enforce building codes, treat sewage, control drainage, maintain utilities and provide firefighting . The world.

The county is governed by a Supervisory Board elected by 19 landowners, the largest and most influential of which is Disney World.

The district has the authority to tax land and use the proceeds to provide basic government services, as well as the operation and maintenance of all public roads and bridges.

Such private governments are not uncommon in Florida, which has more than 600 community development districts that manage and pay for infrastructure in new communities.

If the 1967 law is repealed by Republican lawmakers, Disney World property will come under the control of Orange and Aceola counties.

“The lack of affordable housing affects many people across our country, including here in Central Florida. “Through this initiative, we are helping to make a real and significant impact on our community by leveraging our company’s strengths,” said Jeff Vale, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “It’s the right opportunity and the right time to take action.”

Last week, Florida Speaker Spencer Roach tweeted that lawmakers had held two meetings to discuss repealing the 1967 Reed Creek Improvement Act, which he said “allows Disney to act as its own government.” with Disney’s position against the new law.

Spencer, a Republican, added: “If Disney wants to embrace an awakened ideology, it seems they need to be regulated by Orange County.”

The 1967 Act, signed by then-Republican Gov. Claude Kirk, created the Reedy Creek district, which covers about 25,000 acres in Orange and Aceola counties.

The county is run by 19 landowners, the largest of which is Disney World. He is responsible for overseeing land use and providing basic public services, including fire protection, emergency medical care, water supply, electricity, sewerage. All public roads and bridges are also operated and maintained in the area.

Plans indicate that the new housing will be part of the Flamingo Crossings shopping complex in Orange County and will be located next to schools, shops and restaurants.

According to Disney, low-cost housing units will be available to “eligible applicants” from the general public, including its employees, who are referred to as “actor participants”.

No other details, including how much the new homes would cost, were available immediately.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings welcomed the Disney announcement.

“We want to move the needle, we want to see more jobs closer to where people work and live, so we know it will be a crucial part,” he said. “There will be workers who will live in the area, who will be closer to the place of work.”

Disney is no newcomer to building residential communities in Florida, the most famous example being the city of Celebration.

The planned city in Aceola County was founded by Disney in the 1990s and handed over to its residents.

Most recently, Walt Disney World Resort has built a luxury residential complex called Golden Oak, sold out with a private clubhouse and a host of amenities including golf.

Residents of the future community will have access to retail and restaurants in downtown Flamingo Crossings (pictured)

Residents of the future community will have access to retail and restaurants in downtown Flamingo Crossings (pictured)

Walt Disney World Resort recently built a luxury residential complex called Golden Oak in Florida

Walt Disney World Resort recently built a luxury residential complex called Golden Oak in Florida

Earlier this year, Disney announced plans to develop Kotin, a residential area with 1,900 housing units in Southern California (artistic processing).

Earlier this year, Disney announced plans to develop Kotin, a residential area with 1,900 housing units in Southern California (artistic processing).

In February, the company, which also runs Disneyland in California, unveiled a development plan for Cotino, a residential area of ​​1,900 housing units, including single-family homes and condominiums at the Mirage Ranch in Southern California. Shops and a beach hotel will surround the 24-hectare lagoon. Some neighborhoods will be reserved for residents 55 years and older.

Central Florida is experiencing a housing crisis caused by a combination of rising property taxes and inflation, as well as insufficient apartments to meet growing demand, ClickOrlando reported last month.

In some areas of Orlando, rents have risen by 40 per cent over last year.

Across Florida, rents have risen by about 30 percent since 2021.

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