Creative Village officials discuss its impact on Downtown Orlando

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UCF, Valencia College and city officials updated the community on Downtown Orlando’s latest developments and projects June 27 in a late-afternoon event hosted by the Creative Village of Downtown Orlando.

The development of the UCF and Valencia downtown campuses and their economic, social and physical effects of the layout of Downtown Orlando were discussed amongst a full crowd of listeners inside the downtown Marriott ballroom. Information about housing and office space for high-tech, digital media and creative companies was also discussed in the panel.

Thomas Chatmon Jr., executive director of Orlando’s downtown development, emceed a panel that featured District 5 City Commissioner Regina Hill, Director of Economic Development Brook Bonnet, Executive Dean of Valencia College Downtown Dr. Eugene Jones II and Assistant Vice President for UCF Downtown Mike Kilbride.

The Creative Village is a 68-acre development west of I-4 and south of Livingston Street that will become Downtown Orlando’s newest neighborhood.

The campuses’ proximity to Orlando’s central business district, courthouses and city hall is advertised as a pathway to a more intuitive learning space for high-demand jobs in Downtown Orlando.

“We are incredibly excited to bring 7,700 students to Downtown Orlando because the city will become our campus,” Kilbride said. “The campus location allows us to build on our relationships with industry professionals, many within walking distance, to make our academic programs even stronger and provide richer learning experiences for students.

The original developmental program for Downtown Orlando anticipated $1 billion in new development. Additionally, 325,000 square feet will be utilized for education, and 1,200 to 1,500 units are dedicated to mixed-income residential housing; 125,000 to 150,000 square feet will be allocated to new businesses and startups, as well.

Ustler Development and Development Ventures Group announced the signing of an 1,800-square-foot lease at Union West, a mixed-use housing development directly across from the new campuses at Creative Village. Vera Asian, a locally owned, fast-casual Asian restaurant, will be the first restaurant to be featured on the ground level of the student-housing facility.

“Nothing does more for an urban environment quite like the energy of students,” Bonnet said. “The entire downtown area will be available for these students. The opportunities that exist at UCF Downtown are entirely integrated with this city.

“Our goal is to not only provide a high-quality education in Orlando’s biggest market area but to also provide our businesses with a new and exciting demographic of residents.”

More than 20 programs at UCF, including communications, digital media, health administration and public affairs, will now be exclusively in the downtown area. Through its academic partnering with UCF, Valencia will also offer various programs, including accelerated-skills training and new media communication for its students starting in the fall.

UCF’s downtown campus will open this fall on Aug. 26.

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