According to the Orlando Sentinel, One Stop Housing - a Sarasota-based firm bought what used to be the crime-plagued Magnolia Inn and Suites for $3.4 million with plans to convert the 214 unit building into studio apartments that would rent for $750 a month. Not everybody is onboard with the plan. “It was really a bad place,” said Travis Vengroff, whose family owns and operates for-profit One Stop Housing.

The company has transformed five other properties into affordable housing complexes, including a shuttered Travelodge on U.S. Highway 192 in Kissimmee that has been remodeled and renamed the “Backlot Apartments.” “We have a solid track record,” Vengroff said in a phone interview.

Last month, Michelle Owens, executive director of the Pine Hills Neighborhood Improvement District, sent Alberto Vargas, the county’s planning-division manager, a list of concerns with the proposed project. She said the community wants to add to its housing stock for families of moderate and low incomes, but Pine Hills doesn’t need “housing of last resort,” which is how she described the motel project.

The memo cited the smallish size of the units, proposed rental rates above the Orlando average, the lack of full kitchens and inadequate play space for families with children. “All those are false,” Vengroff said.

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