Plans underway to turn Kissimmee motel into affordable housing

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — An investor from Southwest Florida has spent $5.5 million on a rundown motel in Kissimmee.

Travis Vengroff told Channel 9’s Jamie Holmes that there are plans to renovate the property to provide affordable housing for families living in motels along U.S. Route 192.

Vengroff, an investor from Sarasota, bought the former Travelodge.

"We upgrade the electric. We upgrade the water. We put in a sprinkler system; make sure it's safe,” Vengroff said. "We move people in and keep rents as low as we can."

All 300 rooms will be remodeled and turned into affordable housing at either $750 a month, which will include utilities, or some other rent affordable on a yearly income of $25,000.

The rooms will not include government subsidies or Section 8 housing.

"There's always a need for affordable housing, even when the market gets rough. So it's doing good (deeds) and doing well (in business) at the same time,” Vengroff said.

The only requirements to live at the home are to have a job or be disabled. But it is an effort to start the ball rolling in Osceola County to offer some of the families perpetually stuck in those motels off U.S. Route 192 a fighting chance to some sense of normalcy and a home.

"I'm trying to encourage other people who are fairly affluent to see. Maybe this isn't so difficult, maybe I could replicate this," Vengroff said. "So I'm trying to encourage other people to do this.”

A spokesperson for the county said in a statement, "There is such a dire need for rental properties. To be able to convert that hotel into an apartment complex, is a great thing.

"It's a benefit for the corridor, for the residents living there, and for the businesses that will have their employees closer to their property."

The first units will be available next week.