Disney Releases Statement About Florida Affordable Housing Project After Residents Express Concerns

Katie Francis

Disney Releases Statement About Florida Affordable Housing Project After Residents Express Concerns

Disney has released a new statement regarding their Florida affordable housing project after locals raised complaints in a recent community meeting.

Disney in Florida Affordable Housing Concept Art 2

The project has been in development for years, with 80 acres of land designated for affordable housing in Central Florida. The Orange County community meeting was held to address changing the land use allowances for the parcel to allow for commercial residential units. The plans declare an intent to create 1,450 new units.

Some local residents took to the meeting to raise concerns, with some protesting the addition entirely. The motion passed four to three to allow for the housing to move forward.

Since then, Disney has released a statement regarding the project:

Dear Central Florida Friends and Neighbors,

As many of you know, affordable housing continues to be a significant need across the country, including here in Central Florida. In April 2022, Walt Disney World announced a plan to contribute to the solution: Dedicating nearly 80 acres of our land for a new mixed income housing community in Orange County, Florida. The community would include approximately 1,400 units, over 1,000 of which would be reserved as affordable.

Since then, we identified a renowned affordable housing developer with experience in Florida, The Michaels Organization, to build, own and operate the community. It would serve those who contribute to and support our area every single day – from teachers and first responders to hospitality workers like our Disney cast members, nurses and others. In fact, a recent report found that you need to make about $80,000 a year to avoid being rent burdened.

This initiative is privately funded, not government funded. The developer is not seeking impact fee waivers typically available for affordable housing, meaning it will pay millions of dollars for Orange County to use toward schools, transportation, infrastructure and more.

Some people have asked us why we are doing this if there is no financial benefit to Disney. The answer is simple: Orange County leaders have said creating more affordable housing is a top priority for our region and we can help in a meaningful way by gifting this land. We also hope this model can inspire other companies and organizations in Central Florida and beyond.

On Tuesday, March 26, at 2 p.m., we will present our plan alongside The Michaels Organization to Orange County’s Board of County Commissioners. We want to thank all of you who have voiced your excitement for this initiative over the last several weeks. We also appreciate the input we’ve received from local residents in the surrounding area, as their voice is important to us.

For the latest information on this development, you may visit DisneyFlorida.com

Thank you for all you do in our community.

Groundbreaking is still anticipated to begin this year, with the hopes of opening the new housing in 2026.

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