November Commissioner’s Update

Economic development in District 5 Parramore Downtown

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The economic outlook of District 5 has so many exciting things happening in Parramore Downtown. There are new developments forthcoming, both large and small. Businesses will bring productivity and positivity to the area by providing living-wage jobs while also boosting community and market growth that enhances the quality of life for people who live, work, play and study in the corridor.

Downtown Orlando’s employment during the second quarter of 2019 had a total of 82,523 jobs, which is an increase of 2,476 jobs from the previous quarter. The three largest employment sectors in Downtown Orlando remained education services with 24,703 jobs (29.9% of total jobs), public administration with 17,388 jobs (21.1% of total jobs) and professional, scientific and technical services with 13,336 jobs (16.2% of total jobs).

By welcoming UCF and Valencia to Parramore Downtown, the educational ecosystem and vision of “cradle to college” is realized and allows us to educate every willing individual to be empowered with a first-class education. In addition to post-secondary education, we have recently improved our BluePrint Program (BluePrint 2.0) to include certification programs that last from five to 22 weeks.

City residents now have the option to attend certified trade-skill vocational programs, receive stipends and immediately get to work in the field of their study. Some of our partners include Valencia College, Central Florida Urban League, CareerSource of Central Florida, Southern Technical Institute and more to come.

One of the most important issues that’s being addressed with these programs are living wage-paying jobs. Hiring partners are presenting job and career opportunities from $17 an hour and upward, helping individuals provide quality living for their families.

In our last column, we discussed the challenges of affordable housing and the initiatives we are taking to eradicate those challenges. This month, District 5 Parramore Downtown will cut the ribbon to its second affordable-housing development called Parramore Oaks. Parramore Oaks Apartments are brand-new, mixed-income apartment homes, with the first 120 of 224 units being completed this month.

These apartment homes feature one to three bedrooms just walking distance from Downtown. Along with Parramore Oaks, the American dream is becoming a reality with the next five single-family homes to be completed within the Parramore corridor. In Parramore Downtown alone, we’ve created nearly 500 multifamily housing units, rehabilitated more than 100 residential units, and we’re building 64 single-family homes with down-payment assistance. “The work continues!”

As we create programs for living wage-paying jobs and tackle affordable housing, we are excited about the new business openings that have followed in this area, such as Crepe Delicious and the Kitty Beautiful.

All styles of crepes can now be enjoyed in the Church Street District at the restaurant’s 55 West building location. Their business and decadent menu have been serving people since 2004. The Kitty Beautiful is a cat café also located in Downtown. It is not only a café to enjoy coffee, tea, light bites and other handcrafted drinks, but it’s also a place to enjoy time with Kitty Beautiful’s feline residents from the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando.

While our doors are always open to more entrepreneurs growing their roots in our community, we have already awarded $172,000 in grant funding to existing businesses within the corridor. Those businesses add to the vibrancy of the community while choosing to remain in this neighborhood for an extensive amount of years, and these dollars help them to improve on their interior and exterior look.

Our city is becoming an epicenter in the State of Florida. We are proud of our inclusivity and synergy throughout our community and will continue to lead in economic development in Florida.

Feel free to keep up with everything that’s happening in District 5 through our social media or email newsletters by emailing my office at

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