If price is your biggest obstacle when it comes to finding a place to live in Downtown Orlando, there are two residences that deserve your attention – The Metropolitan at Lake Eola and The Grande Downtown. These condominiums have 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom units that are the best value in the immediate Downtown Orlando area. Both are located in the Central Business District, just a few blocks from everything Downtown.
The Metropolitan at Lake Eola
The Metropolitan at Lake Eola was originally constructed in 1963 as a hotel, and has since gone through several transformations. This 6-story, 128-unit building occupies the prime real estate directly across the street from Lake Eola and the Amphitheatre. During the 2004 conversion, the developer focused mainly on gutting the interiors and updating the flooring, window treatments, and furnishings. So be sure to take a look inside at the units and amenities before jumping to any conclusions based on the somewhat dated look of the building’s exterior. One important thing to note about The Metropolitan is the unique set-up of the utilities. Both air-conditioning and hot water are master-metered by the condominium, and therefore the utility charges for these services are included in the HOA Fees and Rent. For more info on The Metropolitan at Lake Eola, click here.
Renting at The Metropolitan
The 1-bedroom units at The Metropolitan are on the smaller side at 600-650 square-feet. They rent out for approximately $1,000/month. The 2-bedroom units are 1,100-1,200 square-feet and rent out for $1,650/month. Keep in mind that AC, hot water, water, and sewer are typically included in your rent at The Metropolitan. So depending on how cool you run your air and how many hot showers you take, you should knock off $100-$150/month to make a fair comparison to rent prices at other buildings.
Buying at The Metropolitan
If you’re willing to take on a bit of risk, buying at The Metropolitan has the potential to be a profitable investment. The risk lies in the financial stability of the HOA and its ability to fund repairs that weren’t properly addressed by the developer. While the condo market in the Downtown Orlando area has largely recovered from the housing crisis, distressed sales at The Metropolitan are still prevalent. The Metropolitan is the only condominium in Downtown Orlando where you’ll be able to find 1-bedroom units for sale under $100,000. 2-Bedroom units are going for approximately $165,000. That’s about 50% less than the average sales price in the area.
The Grande Downtown
The Grande Downtown was built in 2002 as an apartment complex and was converted to condominiums in late 2004. This large, 363-unit community is made up of 5 separate mid-rise buildings along South Street. Units at The Grande are comfortable, but they tend to be rather ordinary. The Grande is well-maintained and has a large pool area that is a popular hang-out spot for residents and guests. For more info on The Grande Downtown, click here.
Renting at The Grande Downtown
The 1-bedroom units at The Grande are slightly larger than The Metropolitan at 700-750 square-feet. They rent out for approximately $1,100/month. The 2-bedroom units are 1,100-1,200 square-feet and rent out for $1,500/month. Rental prices at The Grande have typically been right in line with those at The Metropolitan. One differentiating factor is that The Grande does not permit renters to have dogs. This is certainly a deal breaker for many prospective residents.
Buying at The Grande Downtown
Distressed sales at The Grande are a lot less common than at The Metropolitan. The overall stability of the HOA appears to be solid as evidenced by the lack of assessments and low HOA fees. 1-Bedroom units are selling for $130,000 and 2-Bedroom units are selling for $180,000. That’s about 40% less than the average sales price in the area.
Other Affordable Living Options
If you’re willing to broaden your search to a 2-mile radius of Downtown Orlando, there are several more affordable living options in the surrounding neighborhoods. Uptown/North Orange, Delaney Park, Eola Heights, Lake Davis, Lake Lucerne, and Lake Cherokee are just a few of the surrounding neighborhoods that have prices in line with or lower than those at The Metropolitan and The Grande.
Condos in those neighborhoods are selling for $100,000 – $150,000 for 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom units. In comparison, the average condo sales right in Downtown Orlando are nearly double that, at $200,000 – $350,000. Rental prices for 1-Bedroom units can be found for under $1,000/month and 2-Bedroom units for under $1,300/month.
As with most urban cities, you will pay a premium to live in the immediate downtown area. So if you’re willing to compromise on proximity, you’ll have a lot more flexibility and options for affordable housing.