Former Orlando hotel now an affordable housing complex

Palm Gardens Orlando Apartments is on West Colonial Drive

ORLANDO, Fla. – The City of Orlando is celebrating the opening of an affordable apartment development at the site of what used to be a blighted hotel.

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, city leaders marked the completion of phase one of the Palm Gardens Orlando Apartments.

The complex was formerly known as the Ambassador Hotel, which had a notorious reputation for crime.

In 2022, One Stop Housing bought the hotel and worked with the City of Orlando to develop a $15 million plan to convert it to affordable apartments.

As part of its Accelerate Orlando initiative, the City of Orlando contributed more than $4 million to support the conversion.

“We need to figure out how we can get this kind of housing throughout the community so people can have a safe place to stay, but more importantly have a place that they can save money and get to the next level,” District 3 Commissioner Robert Stuart said.

Janice Ewing is one of the first residents at the complex and said her rent is hundreds of dollars less than what she was paying at her previous apartment.

“Some places you can’t pay rent and buy groceries.  Some you can’t buy groceries and pay rent, but here you can buy groceries, pay rent and still have money left over,” Ewing said.

Ninety-five units out of 150 have been finished and are reserved for people within 60-80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) range. Some units are also set aside for permanent housing for homeless people.

The city said the entire complex is expected to be finished by the end of the year.

Interested residents can call 689-312-6270 or apply at

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About the Author

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.

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