More Personal Storage Units Coming Downtown

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A courtesy review was presented January 18th to the City's Appearance Review Board for a 3-story building on the 1.4 acre property at the southeast corner of E. Colonial Dr. and N. Magnolia Ave at 107 Hillcrest Street in downtown Orlando.

The building would contain 12,000 sq ft of retail/restaurant and drive-thru on the ground floor and 97,000 sq ft of personal storage units on the second and third floors. The office and management for the personal storage use will be in one of the 6 ground floor retail/restaurant spaces. The project scope will also include rebuilding the Colonial, Magnolia and Hillcrest streetscapes to city standards around the new building.

The review was submitted by Adam Mikkelson, President Liberty Investment Properties, Inc for the property owner, John Hearn, President WRCC, Inc. 

We told you in October 2017 that before selling that site, the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida wanted to establish a framework for redevelopment. It requested a new subarea policy adding Personal Storage as an approved use on the property and a growth management plan amendment to Downtown Activity Center. The request also includes a Planned Development rezoning for a framework PD. The project had a public hearing at the Municipal Planning Board on November 21, 2017. 

The Appearance Review Board says new development at such significant city locations needs to provide significant architecture, the goal being to emphasize the importance of the location. All four sides of this building will be highly visible from the three streets that surround the project site and the surface parking lot directly east of the building site, that offers direct views of the buildings east fa├žade therefore, attention needs to paid to all four sides of the building.

The ARB stated that the early designs for the building are a good beginning, but additional refinement, detailing and fenestration, such as more windows, more consistency in the brick treatments and additional street walls at the ground level to screen the parking area need to be added to the design.

Staff is also concerned about the amount the of signage depicted in the initial plans. The amount of signage shown actually makes the building design and the location of the tenant spaces more confusing according to ARB.