The Town of Winter Park undertook a housing needs assessment to better understand the housing challenges the community faced. Home to Winter Park Ski Resort, the Town discovered 78% of its employees were coming from outside Town boundaries. The study also uncovered there were no vacant attainable housing units and turnover of those units was minimal. Based on that information, the Town adopted the goal to attain 30% housing of its local workforce by 2020, which would require the development of 160 new housing units with at least 70 new rental units. The Town’s ultimate goal was to foster a greater sense of community, increase access to and choice of goods and food, expand access to all modes of transportation, become an economic generator, complement the downtown core and better connect to the outdoor environment.
Town officials engaged Ehlers to provide economic development & redevelopment services. The Town collaborated with Ehlers and began the development of Hideaway Place; a planned mixed-use development with four key components: attainable housing, retail space, markets and parking. The plan included 38 residential, fully equipped units to be owned and operated by the Winter Park Housing Authority.
Ehlers advised the Town with development planning and accessing capital markets to finance the project.
The Town issued a $8.4 million Certificate of Participation, an annual appropriation bond, for the construction of the development for a 25-year term. Because of strong financial planning and the essential nature of the project, the COPs were highly rated at A1. The financing program allowed the majority of debt service payments to be covered by rents, requiring only small annual subsidies from the Town.
Hideaway Place opened to great community fanfare with 70 new residents and at least 30 individuals on a wait list for each class of unit.