Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer delivered his annual State of Downtown address to hundreds of Downtown residents, business owners and community leaders gathered on the floor of the LEED-Gold Certified Amway Center.
At this year’s address, Mayor Dyer highlighted the achievements the City has made over the past four years through Green Works Orlando and announced the launch of the next phase of this sustainability initiative which aims to engage more residents and businesses in the effort.
One of the main community engagement efforts Mayor Dyer announced today as part of this second phase includes an interactive forum hosted on www.GreenWorksOrlando.com, powered by the company Mind Mixer. The interactive site provides questions that residents can answer, second the ideas of others or provide feedback. Participants can earn points that can be used in a “Rewards Store” to redeem things like a tour inside the Lake Eola Fountain, an air boat ride at the Orlando Wetlands Park or an opportunity to choose the color of the Lake Eola Fountain for one night.
Another engagement effort announced today includes the involvement of the City’s first-ever Green Works Task Force made up of local business leaders and chaired by former Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty.
At today’s address, Mayor Dyer also announced the launch of the City’s new single-cart recycling program beginning in November 2012. Residents will receive 95 gallon recycling carts to put all their recyclables in making it easier to recycle and saving the City more than $125,000 in operating costs annually.
In addition to Mayor Dyer’s address, the State of Downtown featured remarks from Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, who spoke about the role of the federal government in partnership with cities like Orlando to develop and meet sustainability goals.
At the event, Mayor Dyer also had the opportunity to share the City’s progress on the revitalization of Downtown Orlando with attendees.
During his address, Mayor Dyer highlighted several Downtown developments underway and noted these as “another important sign that the tide is finally turning for our local economy and housing market.” Some of these highlights include:
- This year, more than 100 new businesses have opened.
- Downtown’s apartment market is performing at record levels with occupancy levels in excess of 95% in eight of Downtown’s apartment buildings.
- In July 2012, Aloft hotel broke ground on the former OUC Building and will turn into a 119-room hotel featuring a pool, outdoor patio and trendy nightspot. It is expected be operational by first quarter of 2013.
- Construction began in fourth quarter of 2011 on the four story mid-rise apartment building, Steel House Apartments and will house 326 residences wrapped around a five-story parking garage. It is expected to be completed by first quarter of 2013.
- On a 2.5-acre site at the corner of North Orange Avenue and Marks Street will be 899 North Orange apartments with 246 apartment homes scheduled to be completed by first quarter of 2014.
- Sky House apartments, a 23-story luxury high-rise apartment building located at 90 East Livingston Street, will break ground today and offer 8,300 square feet of ground floor retail space and an eight level parking garage. It is expected to be completed by third quarter of 2013.
- Cambria Suites, a seven-story, 155-room hotel, will be located at the southwest corner of Washington Street and Rosalind Avenue. Construction date is to be determined.
- The Sevens, a nine-story apartment building located at 777 North Orange Avenue, will begin construction in third quarter of 2013 and is expected to be completed by fourth quarter of 2014.
- XOS Digital, Inc., the leading provider of sports video technology and digital media solutions, will be relocating their headquarters to Downtown Orlando in the GAI Building. Construction will begin in December 2012 and wrap up in spring 2013.