Walt Disney World Picks Location and Developer for Affordable Housing Initiative

Walt Disney World Resort shared earlier this year that it was committed to contributing land towards the efforts of building an affordable housing development. Today, Disney announced more details about this land including where it is located and also who the company will be partnering with to build this affordable housing project.

Walt Disney World has announced that it has picked both a location and developer for an affordable housing initiative. The location for the initiative is in southwest Orange County, Florida, not far from Magic Kingdom. It is west of State Road 429 and just a couple of miles from Flamingo Crossings Town Center. It is also near schools and shopping. When completed, it is expected to offer over 1,300 housing units. Walt Disney World will contribute approximately 80-acres of land for this project.

Disney will partner with The Michaels Organization to develop the property. The Michaels Company already has 425 community housing properties in over 35 states, including some in Central Florida. It will build, own, and operate this new attainable housing development. This is something that the company has done before and is one of the reasons Disney chose to partner with them. The Michaels Company has a long track record of building and then managing attainable communities. Disney and The Michaels Company are currently negotiating the final details of the deal for the project.

“For more than 50 years, Walt Disney World has cared for and invested in our community, and we’re committed to being a part of this solution which will bring more attainable housing to Central Florida,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “We will continue to find ways to use our resources to make a difference in the community we call home, and we’re excited to take this step with a nationally recognized developer.”

Disney will collaborate with The Michaels Organization throughout the process of design and construction. The project is expected to also bring new jobs to the area.

“We are excited to work with an iconic brand like Disney to deliver attainable housing for the Central Florida community,” said Michaels CEO John J. O’Donnell. “Our goal is to create a repeatable model that we hope will inspire other companies and municipalities to create high quality, attainable housing in their own communities.”

This entire development will be privately financed and limited to applicants within a certain income range, this includes cast members. It will help support Orange County’s Housing for All action plan that seeks to address housing affordability for Central Florida residents. This is an action plan that was brought about by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.

Disney shared that attainable housing is one of the ways that it engages with local leaders to help the community find solution to this issue. Disney helps with donations, supplies, the Disney VoluntEARS program, and many other ways. Earlier this year both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort donated $300k to local food banks to support people in the community facing food insecurity. This donation was a part of the $5.5 million that Walt Disney World has contributed to community causes during its 50th Anniversary celebration. This includes organizations on the frontline of addressing the need for affordable housing.

Disney promises to share more details, including the construction timeline, in the future.