This developer is upping Orlando’s street cred, one street at a time

MEET THIS CHANGEMAKER: Craig Ustler, president of the Ustler Development Group, is best known for transforming Thornton Park into a desirable and walkable neighborhood throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s. He’s been heavily involved in developing The City Beautiful since graduating from the University of Florida in 1991. His development philosophy has been to focus on downtown Orlando exclusively as opposed to a specific property type. He sees himself as more of a neighborhood and community builder than a real estate developer.

WHAT HE’S DOING: Ustler’s company is at the forefront of another huge project that will forever change the trajectory of the city, Creative Village. The billion dollar project includes a University of Central Florida campus, mixed-income housing and parks. When complete, Creative Village will include about 1.2 million square feet of office and creative space, 750,000 square feet of higher education space, 1,500 residential units, 1,500 student housing beds, 150,000 square feet of retail/commercial space and 225 hotel rooms.

FUN FACT: Ustler is a third generation Orlandoan on both sides of his family.

QUOTABLE: “I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder about Orlando and the respect that it gets or doesn’t get and so that’s kind of always been something I’ve wanted to change,” Ustler said.

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED:  Students interested in living at UCF Downtown and Valencia College Downtown now have a preview center in downtown Orlando where you can see a model at UnionWest at Creative Village. Located inside UCF’s Center for Emerging Media, the preview center will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.