DIX Developments planning 12-story microunit apartment tower in Thornton Park

By Laura Kinsler Growthspotter | Jan 10, 2020 | 6:38 PM

DIX Development will submit plans next week for Vive on Eola, a proposed 12-story mixed-use tower with 126 micro apartments and rooftop amenities. (Studio 407)

Lake Mary-based DIX Developments is prepping to submit plans this coming week for a 12-story mixed-use tower in Thornton Park at the corner of Church Street and South Eola Drive.

The Vive on Eola tower would rise on a corner lot now occupied by a one-story law office at 205 S. Eola Dr. It’s next to the Camden Lake Eola complex now under construction and slated to open in the spring.

CEO James Dicks held his final pre-application meeting with Orlando city planners in December. The site already has Planned Development zoning, but it was approved for a condo project. DIX will be seeking a density and intensity bonuses for the project, which features 3,800 square feet of ground-level retail uses, 13,750 square feet of office/co-working space and 7 stories of residential micro apartments totaling 126 units.

Dicks told GrowthSpotter he believes the Orlando market is ripe for microunit product.

“For us, this isn’t just one building. It’s more of a business,” he said. “We plan on doing more of these over the next 24 months in this market and across Florida. We’re already looking at the Tampa market, downtown St. Pete, Charlotte and Nashville.”

The ground level would house a signature restaurant and a separate coffee shop or cafe with grab-and-go prepared food items.

The size of the individual units would vary from 350 to 550 square feet, averaging just over 400 square feet. The units have fully functional kitchens with granite counter tops, stainless appliances and washer and dryers. The units are designed with space saving features including pull-down beds, tables and desks that fold, and appliances that are hidden or compact.

This is a potential floor-plan for a micro apartment with a balcony. It would rent for about $1,200 a month. (Studio 407)

The projected rental rate is $3 per square foot, or $1,200 for a 400-square-foot apartment.

This rendering shows the unit interior with the Murphy bed, as envisioned by the developer. (DIX Developments/Studio 407)

Dicks said the units would have an industrial-loft vibe, with epoxy floors, exposed ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. Second-floor and upper level corner units will be designed with spacious balconies and will rent for a premium. Studio 407 is the project architect.

The target customers are single Millennials with relatively lucrative jobs in the city. These are the residents who are willing to trade square footage for a vibrant, convenient location; who live alone and haven’t yet accumulated many possessions; who can afford the moderately high rent costs; and who spend the majority of time at work or socializing outside of their apartment.

“Really, the concept is a live-work-play mentality,” Dicks said. “The entire roof is an amenity deck. It has two pools,” Dicks said. “We’ll have a lot of social spaces for people to plug in, so you don’t have to be inside your apartment.”

The amenity package also will include rooftop yoga classes, grilling areas and a fitness center a virtual spinning studio and multipurpose exercise area. Tenants can even schedule weekly cleaning services.

This is one of several examples of rooftop amenity decks that inspired the developers of Vive on Eola. (DIX Developments/Studio 407)

The project would qualify for a reduced parking requirement, so Dicks said the project would have several EV charging stations, a designated are for ride-sharing services and spaces for ZipCar. The building would feature a controlled access system for enhanced security, and units would have smart locks.

Dicks said he expects to break ground within 12-14 months. In the meantime, the company will convert the existing law office into a coworking space with month-to-month leases so it can generate revenue during the permitting and design stage.

Vive on Eola is the second micro-unit mixed-use tower proposed in the downtown Orlando pipeline. Boca Raton developer David Hirschfeld is pledging to offer a mix of affordable and market-rate studio apartments in the proposed 17-story DXV Central tower in Parramore.

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