The primary influence for Poole & Poole Architecture’s design for the four-story, market-rate building was the imagery of a bold, modern, visual gateway to downtown. Poole & Poole also wanted it to fit into the mixed-use neighborhood, which includes single-family houses. The firm finessed a fine balance by designing what looks like connected structures rather than a monolithic mass; repeating materials typical of the area’s residential palette; and inserting a dramatic, glass “tower entry” at the corner of two main streets.
When not holed up in their apartments, Millennials are highly social, so here, too, multiple options are offered. The outdoors features two courtyards with pocket parks, a swimming pool, fountains, a fire pit, and a 40-foot-long water feature to block urban noise. Indoors are a fitness center and lounge with a kitchen, bar, game area, and Wi-Fi everywhere. “This group wants to be techy, social, and, even when alone, they don’t want to be alone,” says Troy Beasley, of Beasley & Henley, which designed the interiors.—
Besides wanting to live downtown and close to work, restaurants, and other public venues, Millennials prioritize healthy living and energy and water conservation. So the team adopted several green measures aimed at this target demographic, including a reflective roof, bike storage, high-efficiency HVAC systems and Energy Star appliances, and drought-tolerant and native plants, such as palms. An easement was provided in the planning stage to set aside land for the city’s three-mile Orlando Urban Trail to wind through.
Orlando is much more than a destination for amusement-park goers: The city has seen a bustling downtown emerge over the past decade, since Mayor Buddy Dyer took office in 2003 and prioritized revitalization. Part of that agenda includes fostering transit-oriented development, and with its proximity to a commuter rail line, SteelHouse fits the bill. Michael Blair, a managing director at Pollack Shores, credits the successful completion of the development to strong public–private partnerships.
The developer’s prime strategy for competing with other properties was to make 70 percent of the units one-bedrooms, since Millennials prefer living alone. Then, to suit this group’s love of high-end amenities, there are big windows, 9- to 14-foot-high ceilings, balconies, and different packages of zippy paint colors, countertops, and cabinets. Square footage ranges from 638 to 1,223; monthly rents, from $1,000 to $2,400. As of mid-September, 75 percent of the property, which opened in April, was leased.