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One of Gainesville's Tallest Buildings To Be Constructed Despite Objections


Nathan Crabbe

The Gainesville Sun


The Gainesville City Commission has paved the way for a 12-story apartment complex to be constructed next to Innovation Square, over the objections of its own advisory groups and some residents.


The commission voted 4-3 on Thursday evening to approve land-use and zoning changes that allow the project to be built. The project is slated for a 1.1-acre site at the northwest corner of Southwest Second Avenue and Southwest 10th Street, on a current parking lot across from the University of Florida’s Infinity Hall.


A 12-story building and a second five-story building are slated to be constructed on a 1.1 acre-site at the northwest corner of Southwest Second Avenue and Southwest 10th Street, on a current parking lot across from the University of Florida’s Infinity Hall.

A 12-story apartment building and a second five-story building are slated to be constructed on the property. Developer CA Ventures agreed to set aside 10% of available apartments for workforce housing in perpetuity, in exchange for the city increasing the height and density allowed at the location.


Mayor Lauren Poe, who voted in favor of the changes, said the complex is appropriate for a location that is bikeable, walkable and close to the university and jobs. The workforce housing requirement will help address the city’s huge need for affordable housing, Poe said, at the expense of the developer rather than taxpayers.


“We need to take advantage of every single unit of affordable housing that we can add to our stock that does not tap into the city’s limited resources,” he said.


The city's Plan Board, which makes recommendations to the City Commission, voted against the proposal in May. The city's Historic Preservation Board also opposed the project, which is on a site that abuts portions of the University Heights South Historic District.


Thomas Hawkins, a Plan Board member and former city commissioner, said at Thursday’s meeting that he objected to zoning being changed to allow far greater density and height than what had been permitted.


“Lots of development is happening in our community consistent with our rules and that is much better than what the applicant has proposed," he said.


The 12-story building would be among several high-rises around campus that have been built in recent years and drawn criticism from some residents. It would be two stories taller than The Standard, a high-profile student housing complex at the intersection of Northwest 13th Street and West University Avenue.


Poe and commissioners David Arreola, Adrian Hayes-Santos and Reina Saco voted in favor of the changes, while commissioners Desmon Duncan-Walker, Cynthia Chestnut and Harvey Ward voted against them. Chestnut questions claims that families were going to live in affordable housing in the complex.


“I think we are kidding ourselves if you think a family of four is going to move into a project … where it’s student housing,” she said. “It’s not going to happen.”

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