Thornton Park condominium project to get tax break

Another new mid-rise is about to go under construction in Orlando's Thornton Park, and like several other buildings in that trendy neighborhood, the developer will get a tax break.

The City of Orlando is waiving$855,000 in transportation development fees. That's a tax paid by the developer so that when roads become more crowded with new development, the city has money to do something about it. District Commissioner Patty Sheehan says this company is getting a break like the others because these fees are less needed in Thornton Park.

"There is a transportation plan in place where we can waive fees if they are in the downtown corridor because the streets already exist. I mean, we already have the infrastructure in place, and I support that."

Sheehan raves about the building because she has seen one that will be very similar, done by the same developer, on the next block over at 420 East Church Street.

"He's doing quality development and I feel very confident about what's going forward."

Waiving of those fees means the developers of 520 East Church Street won't pay any transportation fees. Sheehan does not think the roads in Thornton Park will be much more crowded. She told Fox 35 the recent construction in other areas of Thornton Park proves that, plus all of the new tenants of the building won't be coming and going at the same times. The one area Sheehan says the city does need to work on in Thornton Park is people that come from outside of that neighborhood because of the retail available there.

"Where we really have to look is with retail. People are not understanding the relationship between the retail and we are having some issues in getting them in the  parking garages and not just looking for street parking when they are going to a high rise or mid rise development."

Perhaps the biggest reason 520 East Church was given that tax break is that there is a Lymmo bus stop right across the street from where the building is being constructed. Sheehan hopes the new tenants and the public at large will take advantage.

"People in this city are freaked out about any kind of transit, and I think we are getting to the point where we really need to embrace transit, and that's all the way from the sidewalks we are putting in to the Lymmo which gets people around the downtown, to the bus service, which I agree we need to beef up."

520 East Church Street should open in 2016.