The heart and soul of Central Florida is Downtown Orlando, the historic core and the central business district of Orange County. The area provides quick and easy access to both of the city’s airports as well as local attractions and amenities. Home to both residential and commercial towers, sports arenas, theaters, art galleries and parks, Downtown Orlando draws visitors and locals, alike, who wish to experience the city’s charm and cultural personality.
There are several distinctive districts which comprise the area: Thornton Park, Uptown (to the north around Lake Ivanhoe), Lake Eola Heights, Parramore (in the west), and the Central Business District (or Financial District). Visitors and residents looking to decompress will find tranquility in the brick-lined streets of Thornton Park, an area of historical homes and high-end boutique shops. In addition to the old-world, European feel, Thornton Park offers a very cosmopolitan feel with exclusive restaurants like Dexter’s (a local favorite) and luxury condominiums catering to some of the area’s most exclusive clientele. Lake Eola contains some of the oldest structures in the city including Howard Middle School, Orlando’s original high school. Its centerpiece is its namesake lake and iconic fountain which serves as a backdrop for local events and festivals. The Central Business District contains the high-rise buildings which dominate the skyline including City Hall and upscale hotels and is within walking distance to some of the city’s biggest entertainment venues including the Amway Center and the Doctor Phillips Center for Performing Arts. Finally, Uptown is a tree-lined, urban enclave around Lake Ivanhoe. Similar to the Business District but with less density, the Uptown area is dotted with open spaces perfect for future development, as well being home to a thriving retail and nightlife scene.
The Downtown area is home to multiple public and private schools as well as several branch campuses of state universities. There are several public school options such as Hill Crest Elementary School, Kaley Elementary, Lake Como Elementary, Princeton Elementary, Blanker K-8, Fern Creek Elementary School, Howard Middle School, Memorial Middle School, Carver Middle School, Orlando Science Middle School, Conway Middle School, Jones High School, Edgewater High School and William R. Boone High School. One of Orlando’s most exclusive and prestigious prep schools, Lake Highland Preparatory School, is located in the area as well. Its 26-acre campus is located in the heart of the city and enrolls approximately 2500 students many of whom go on to prestigious colleges and universities.
The University of Central Florida has a branch campus in the area as does Florida State University’s School of Medicine and Florida A & M University’s School of Law.
In addition to being the business epicenter for the county, the Downtown area is home to the vast majority of the local sports and cultural scenes. The Amway Center, home to the Orlando Magic (NBA) and the Orlando Solar Bears (minor league ice hockey) also plays host to some of the world’s biggest names in entertainment. The newest addition to the scene is the city’s new professional soccer team, Orlando City, which currently plays its home games at the recently renovated Florida Citrus Bowl. The Orlando City soccer team will be building a new state-of-the-art 25,500-seat stadium near the Amway arena featuring a sunken filed and 10,000 sq. ft. fan plaza. The Citrus Bowl also hosts several major events throughout the year including the annual Capital One Bowl. The area also offers plenty of cultural options as well, many of which are located in Loch Haven Park, just north of downtown. Loch Haven is home the Orlando Science Center, The Orlando Shakespeare Theater, and the Orlando Museum of Art, among others. The recently opened Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is the area’s venue for nationally-touring Broadway musicals, orchestra and ballet performances. Shopping and dining in the Downtown area is as unique an experience as one will find in the city. After visiting one of the area’s fantastic restaurants, one could take a stroll around Lake Eola, rent an iconic swan-shaped paddle boat, or sip a cocktail at one of the local hot spots, or, if it’s Sunday, visit the weekly farmers market which takes place around Lake Eola. Downtown also sponsors or participates in several parades and festivals throughout the year including the Citrus Bowl parade and the Orlando Fringe Festival.
Real Estate / Economic
The Downtown Orlando area has undergone a recent Renaissance of growth and development including new hotels, office buildings, and condominiums. In fact, until recently, the urban heart of Orlando was considered small compared to other cities of the same size. Construction of new commercial towers and the expansion of the City Hall complex provided an impetus for corporate growth and urban development. New, high-rise apartments and condominiums compete for the ever- increasing pool of professionals seeking to live and work within the city’s confines. This rise in residential growth has also led to an increase in available office space. The city center provides ample opportunities for employment and entrepreneurial ventures of all sizes and career levels. And, its proximity to the I-4 corridor, which is currently under extensive expansion, provides quick access to most of the surrounding areas and their businesses—making commutes easier and saving valuable time. Additionally, the beautiful tree-lined streets of Thornton Park and the Lake Eola area provide an oasis of single family homes just outside of the downtown district’s businesses. The area also provides a full list of local amenities as there are more than thirteen places of worship within the district as well as six nearby hospitals, including the internationally recognized Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies.
The Downtown district of Orlando provides ample opportunities for those seeking an urban lifestyle with a relaxed atmosphere. Steady growth in property values and increased residential opportunities in the communities which comprise the downtown district offer myriad options for local buyers and international investors alike.
Clearly, this part of Florida has it all, and Julian Properties will be happy to help home buyers sift through the real estate here. Contact us today to get a closer look at the advantages of Florida downtown city life.