Pine Hills hopes to transform struggling shopping center into an affordable-housing community for seniors.
Orange County hopes to transform a struggling shopping center into an affordable-housing community for seniors in Pine Hills. County commissioners set aside $567,000 for the project that could replace a chunk of the under-used Silver Pines Shopping Center and become an anchor for a Pine Hills town center. Commissioner Victoria Siplin, whose district includes most of the community, described the project as crucial for resuscitating the area and turning it into a gateway for Pine Hills. The shopping center on Silver Star Road, anchored by a furniture liquidation outlet, has had trouble attracting and keeping tenants in its large spaces. But it’s a perfect place for what Pine Hills wants to build: a mixed-use, mixed-income town center, said Michelle Owens, executive director of the Pine Hills Neighborhood Improvement District. The rent-restricted apartment project offers hope for older residents struggling to pay housing bills. This will help some stay in the neighborhood and close to important things - including friends, said Sheila Belle, president of Pine Hills Seniors.