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Wood Partner-Ustler Group JV Commences Construction on Urban Apartment Community in Downtown Orlando

A joint venture development entity comprised of Wood Partners and the Ustler Group has acquired 3.4 acres in Florida Hospital Health Village located in downtown Orlando and has started construction on a 248-unit, five-story urban apartment community.

Florida Hospital sold the land to Wood/Ustler in November 2012. The site is part of the hospital's 172-acre "Health Village," which is a mixed-use, transit-oriented, master planned urban development centered on health and wellness that features a variety of uses including medical, research, medical office, commercial, hotel and multi-family.

This highly anticipated apartment community is known as The Ivy - Residences at Health Village and is located at 2650 Dade Avenue, a block west of Orange Avenue. The Ivy consists of two mid-rise buildings and an integrated parking garage. There are a total of 248 one-, two- and three-bedroom units averaging 941 square feet, with 233,368 square feet of total living area.

"We're thrilled to be working with the Ustler Group on what we're certain will be a successful community addition for both Florida Hospital and the city of Orlando," said David Thompson, director for Wood Partners in Florida.

Ustler has been the leading urban infill developer in downtown Orlando for the past 15 years. Atlanta-based Wood Partners is one of the nation's leading multifamily housing developers, having started 21 communities and approximately 5,100 units in 2012.

"This is a great opportunity to partner with the top apartment developer in the country to bring a unique, neighborhood-specific apartment project to Health Village and further the overall vision of Florida Hospital," said Craig Ustler, president of the Ustler Group. "We are building a vital piece of Health Village as it evolves into a truly valuable mixed-use urban community centered on health and wellness."

Baker Barrios was the design architect, Charlan Brock & Associates is the architect-of-record, and Wood Florida Builders is the general contractor. GAI Consultants is the civil engineer, and Libra Design Group, Inc. is the landscape architect.

At The Ivy, interiors will feature high-quality ceramic flooring in kitchens, entries and baths; 9-foot-4-inch ceilings; stainless steel appliances; 42-inch cabinets with granite tops; and modern lighting fixtures. Community amenities include bike racks, cyber café & coffee bar, lounge area, yoga/spin room, exercise room, summer kitchen on pool deck, 2nd floor balcony pool deck, game room, two community/gathering rooms, dog walk and car charging station in the parking garage.

The first units at The Ivy are scheduled for completion in late 2013 or early 2014 with full project completion and availability of all units set for mid-2014.

Wood Partners and Ustler have a marketing relationship with Florida Hospital to provide their employees with the first opportunity to lease apartments at The Ivy.

"While we will not turn away the general public, we will specifically pre-market the project directly to hospital employees several months prior to marketing to the public," Thompson said. "The Ivy will provide new, well-located and cost-effective housing, enabling Florida Hospital to attract and retain high-quality medical personnel and employees."

Florida Hospital Health Village is anchored by the hospital, encompasses about 26 city blocks and is home to hospital and medical-related uses, educational facilities, administrative offices, Adventist Health University, medical offices and close to 1,200 hospital beds. With the addition of approximately 300 beds in the Women's Hospital currently under construction, Florida Hospital's Orlando campus will be one of the largest hospital complexes in Florida. The Ivy will contribute to the hospital's healthy-living mission with thoughtful urban design and responsible development.

The Ivy is the first true transit-oriented development project to start vertical construction in Orlando since the formal announcement of SunRail. There is a SunRail station at Health Village and this commuter rail system will be operational in 2014. The Ivy will be one SunRail stop away from the premier dining and shopping offerings of Winter Park's Park Avenue, and two stops from the main downtown Orlando stop at Church Street Station in the Central Business District, which is proximate to the newly completed Amway Center and the under construction Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

The Ivy is also well located adjacent to several highly desirable Orlando neighborhoods, including College Park, Mills 50 District and Winter Park.

Metropolitan Orlando has a population of 2.15 million and is projected to be one of the fastest-growing areas in Florida over the next five years. Based on forecasts by the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida (UCF), employment growth for the Orlando metro area is anticipated to be the second highest in the state through 2014. UCF projects the creation of more than 59,000 new jobs in 2014.

Despite high rents and occupancies for competitive projects, there is a historically low number of new apartment units under construction within the metro area, and an absence of new construction in the immediate market area. Specifically in Downtown Orlando, urban infill apartments are significantly under-supplied.

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