|Orlando, Fla. – Nov. 28, 2023 – Following the groundbreaking of Catchlight Crossings earlier this month, Wendover Housing Partners and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners (BBB) are releasing a first look at the new 1,000-unit affordable and mixed-income housing community in Orlando.
Catchlight Crossings is the result of Universal Destinations & Experiences’ Housing for Tomorrow initiative. This is a first-of-its-kind approach to address Orlando’s critical need for affordable housing by creating inclusive, economically diverse housing options. Universal donated 20 acres of land in the heart of Orlando’s tourist district to be used solely for affordable housing. After conducting a national search, Universal selected Wendover to develop and manage the community.
Catchlight Crossings will be open to anyone who meets the income requirements set by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). More than just an apartment complex, Catchlight Crossings will be a new neighborhood—an affordable community where residents can live, work, learn, and play.
BBB brings over 50 years of planning and design excellence to Catchlight Crossings and is acclaimed for revitalizing some of America’s most iconic public buildings and cultural institutions—the Empire State Building, Grand Central Terminal, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, and many others—as well as for the planning and design of affordable and market-rate housing and mixed-use developments including Essex Crossing in New York City, the Anacostia Waterfront in Washington, DC, and Colony Square in Atlanta, Georgia. As master planner and design architect, BBB will help Wendover bring Catchlight Crossings to life, redefining affordable housing by providing residents with refined living spaces, amenities and a pedestrian-oriented neighborhood environment.
BBB has created a pedestrian-oriented comprehensive master plan and architectural design with a wide range of on-site services including medical offices, a tuition-free pre-school, extension learning classrooms, community amenities and event space, and 16,000 square feet of retail space. The community’s Transportation Center, serving buses, ride sharing, and employer shuttles, will make access to area employers more convenient for residents. The community will also be near the proposed Sunshine Corridor, a new east-west rail corridor connecting SunRail’s main line to Orlando International Airport and the Orange County Convention Center, serving more than 125,000 workers.
With a focus on sustainability and high-quality, livable design, Catchlight Crossings includes bike and walking paths, a community garden, and four acres of open green space, including car-free, pedestrian promenades supporting health, wellness, and social engagement. The community is designed to meet US Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) certification.
The master plan and design for Catchlight Crossings reflects the principle that true affordability for Orange County residents is not only about housing, but also includes access to transportation, healthcare, education, and a sense of community in a neighborhood environment.
The team additionally includes executive architect BDG Architects, interior designer Palmetto Interiors, landscape architect RVi Planning + Landscape Architecture, structural engineer Structures One, mechanical/electrical/plumbing engineer Ingenuity Engineers Inc., civil engineer AVCON, and sustainability consultant Trifecta Construction.
“Catchlight Crossings a first-of-its-kind approach to affordable housing, and we know BBB will be an exceptional partner in bringing this community to life,” said Jonathan Wolf, founder and CEO of Wendover Housing Partners. “More than 100,000 people work within a 7-mile radius of Catchlight Crossings. As these folks roll out Orange County’s red carpet to the world, they deserve to feel the warmth in their world. Every aspect of this community is designed through the lens of our future residents, ensuring they will have a safe, comfortable place to call home.”
“Affordable housing is an issue we care deeply about,” said Neil Kittredge, BBB Partner and Director of Planning and Urban Design. “We recognize that truly affordable housing is about more than just a place to live. Catchlight Crossings will be a walkable, transit-oriented neighborhood—with open space, amenities and services for residents and the broader community that puts quality of life first. We couldn’t be prouder of our collaboration with Wendover Housing Partners and Universal Destinations & Experiences to bring a sustainable, affordable community to Central Florida.”
The first phase of Catchlight Crossings is expected to open in 2026.
For a Catchlight Crossings media kit containing renderings and video, click here.
About Wendover Housing Partners
Headquartered in Altamonte Springs, Wendover Housing Partners, LLC is a privately held real estate development, investment and management company founded in 1995. As one of the Southeast’s premier housing companies, Wendover specializes in the development of single and multi-family homes, apartment communities, senior communities, and transit-oriented development. Wendover’s expansive portfolio of affordable and mixed-income developments demonstrates the company’s success in creating housing opportunities in a variety of economically and socially diverse neighborhoods. Learn more at wendovergroup.com.
About Universal Destinations & Experiences
Universal Destinations & Experiences, a unit of Comcast NBCUniversal, offers guests around the world the most innovative, immersive and popular entertainment experiences. Our portfolio is comprised of world-class theme parks featuring the industry’s most thrilling and technologically advanced attractions, exceptional hotels and resorts, unique merchandise, games, virtual and live entertainment experiences. We use our rich collection of stories and franchises – from Universal Pictures, Illumination, DreamWorks Animation and more – to take people to places they couldn’t imagine while creating memorable and emotionally fulfilling moments for people of all ages. Learn more at www.corporate.universaldestinationsandexperiences.com.
About Housing for Tomorrow
Founded in 2020 with the mission to bring more diverse, affordable housing options to Central Florida, Housing for Tomorrow is an innovative, private-industry based solution to one of the area’s most pressing issues. Universal Destinations & Experiences pledged 20 acres of land for the creation of a 1,000-unit affordable/mixed-income housing community. As a not-for-profit entity, Housing for Tomorrow will retain ownership of the land, serve as Master Developer, and ensure that the effort will provide housing for low- and moderate-income residents in perpetuity. The community will be built and managed by Wendover Housing Partners, a leader in affordable housing solutions. Learn more at housingfortomorrow.com.
About Beyer Blinder Belle
Founded in 1968, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners (BBB) is an award-winning architecture, planning, and interiors practice with 180 professionals in New York City, Washington, DC, and Boston. The firm’s multi-faceted portfolio encompasses adaptive reuse and rehabilitation, urban design, and new construction across a wide spectrum of building typologies and sectors, including cultural, civic, educational, residential, and commercial projects. BBB has been recognized with the American Institute of Architects Firm Award, three Presidential Design Awards, two TIME Magazine Design of the Year Awards, and hundreds of additional accolades for excellence in design and planning. Learn more at beyerblinderbelle.com
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