Disney picks developer for affordable housing project

ORLANDO, Fla. — (AP) — Walt Disney World has picked a developer to construct and operate an affordable housing development on 80 acres of land donated by the entertainment company, company officials said Wednesday.

The Michaels Organization will build, own and operate the 1,300-unit development meant to ease the housing market for service workers in metro Orlando, where it has become increasingly difficult for lower-wage workers to find places to live.

The units will be available to qualified applicants who are Disney employees or members of the public. Disney announced the plans for the development earlier this year but released new details Wednesday. Disney, the metro area's largest employer, will own the land, and the development will be owned by The Michaels Organization.

Housing prices in metro Orlando, as well as other parts of Florida, have soared in recent years.

Crosstown rival Universal Parks and Resorts also recently announced plans to build a 1,000-unit mixed-income community that offers tuition-free preschool and medical care on site.