Articulate Featured Carousel March 2019

Young Professionals Favoring Luxury ‘Live, Work, Play’ Multi-family Lifestyle

Written By: by Genevieve Howard, Photography courtesy Trimark Properties and CRA

Every time Brett Tobin left Gainesville to pursue options in other cities, something kept pulling him back.

The 32-year old director of account management at tech start-up Eventplicity came to Gainesville to attend the University of Florida in 2005. He moved away twice before returning in 2015 to permanently establish roots.

“I left town in 2013 because I wanted to try out things on the West Coast,” Tobin said. “I explored different work opportunities and checked out potential landing spots, looking at cities across the country such as New York and San Francisco. But I found myself continually drawn back to Gainesville.”

It wasn’t the cost of living – at least by itself – that deterred Tobin from living in these major metropolitan cities.

“It was more about proximity,” he said. “I have a dog, and being able to have areas to walk him and play with him in the same neighborhood where I worked, ate, hung out and exercised was a big differentiator compared to those other places.”

While you might not think of Gainesville as a city that has these walkable, dynamic urban neighborhoods to live, work and play, several areas of town already offer this living experience for young professionals – and there are more of these developments on the horizon.

Greater Gainesville’s developers and urban planners are taking note of the tendency among young professionals to rent apartments in urban locations, and they are working to create these “live, work and play” neighborhoods throughout the city by adding multifamily developments in growing areas near major employment centers, popular nightlife and shopping destinations.

Gainesville’s Urban Core

The VUE Condominiums

Tobin’s desire to live near the center of town is in line with statistics. A City Observatory study showed that well-educated young adults aged 25 to 34 are twice as likely as other demographics to live within three miles of a city’s downtown core. It’s no surprise, then, that young professionals often choose to rent in the center of Gainesville, especially with the recent revitalizations of southeast Gainesville and the Innovation District, the city’s growing tech and research quarter anchored by the business incubator UF Innovate | The Hub and nestled between the UF campus and downtown.

“The thing that won me over when deciding to live downtown was the idea that I could come back and be a part of this continued change,” Tobin said. “I wanted to experience it firsthand.”

Tobin rents at The Palms, a luxury complex located at the intersection of SW Second Avenue and SW Third Street. It’s just a five-minute walk to the Eventplicity office at the Hub.

“I can walk to work every day. On weekends and after work, I can walk my dog to the park downtown and I often take him to Depot Park.”

Innovation District developers are looking to enhance this area even further. New multifamily developments will provide a place to live for the young entrepreneurial-minded employees working at the Hub, as well as the tech-based businesses such as Feathr and Mobiquity. These apartments also will be targeted toward people working downtown, at the university and at UF Health Shands.

“We believe connecting downtown with the university through the addition of mixed-use developments will be beneficial to the young professionals in the city who want that vibrant urban living experience,” said John Fleming, managing partner of Trimark Properties. “We believe that the Innovation District is an ideal location to create this type of neighborhood.”

Young Professional Housing-Butler
The future expansion of the Butler Town Center will include apartments above retail space. The renderings represent the current design, and the final design may vary.

Butler, Celebration Pointe, Tioga

Away from the urban core, multifamily housing geared toward young professionals and empty nesters is being developed.

Housing in Butler Town Center, Celebration Pointe and the Town of Tioga ties in with the neotraditional neighborhoods that include upscale retailers and restaurants.

The Town Center is the final phase of the renovation and additions to Butler Plaza.

Butler Enterprises plans to break ground soon, building in the heart of the Town Center that will include 50 apartments that Contemporary Management Concepts will manage.

Debbie Berdy, CMC’s founder and partner, believes the location of these luxury apartments will appeal to young professionals.

“Where else can you easily walk your dog to restaurants, the theater, a grocery store and best-in-class retail stores in minutes?” she said.

These apartments will be within walking distance to the shops and entertainment options in the town center, such as Whole Foods and the Regal Cinemas theater.

“Twenty years ago, young professionals and families desired a suburban life. Now they are moving more back ‘to town’ for a more urban, lively and convenient life that also meets a growing core value of more sustainable living,” said Mary Reichardt, corporate director of marketing for Butler Enterprises. “Butler Town Center’s residences will meet that market gap.” Celebration Pointe is shaping up to be a live, work, play community, with The Vue condominiums targeted towards professionals and empty nesters.

Its location west of I-75 and north of Archer Road has made it a destination location for both city residents and people from surrounding communities, who come to visit stores including Bass Pro Shop, Palmetto Moon, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike and the Regal Cinema.

Tioga expansion: 144 new luxury apartments will be added to Tioga Town Center with state-of-the-art amenities. New features include a clubhouse, resort style pool, resident lounge, game room, business center, outdoor grilling stations, fire pits, a pet washing station, and a brand new playground. Construction will begin this month and is scheduled to be completed in fall of 2020.  

In The Town of Tioga, attached for-sale homes are growing in popularly. In addition, apartments at Tioga Town Center are expanding.

The town center’s owner, the Hankin Group, is adding 144 new luxury apartments along with amenities, including a clubhouse, pool, pet washing station and playground.

In addition to new apartments, Tioga Town Center will add 15,000 square feet of retail space.

“These current rentals at the Tioga Town Center are incredible for adults seeking an upscale lifestyle,” said Heather Damron of Pepine Realty. 

Tech City: New Concept in Sustainable Community

A totally new approach to live, work and play communities is under construction in the city of Alachua – San Felasco Tech City.

Mitch Glaeser, the CEO of the Emory Group Companies, and Rich Blaser, the CEO and co-founder of Infinite Energy, are tapping their experience mentoring millennials who founded startups in creating a place catered to them.

The anchor tenant is Fracture, which has developed a nationwide niche in printing photographs on glass.

Fracture will occupy one of the two 30,000-square-foot commercial buildings on the campus, which will be completed soon.

“Our lease rates will be about half the cost of other options for new space in the Innovation District,” Glaeser said.

The project is still evolving its residential component. Smaller and more sustainable homes are among the concepts that the founders and tenants are exploring.

Glaeser consistently hears that millennials strongly value protecting the environment and being healthy.

Solar panels over pedestrian areas, solar roofs and even “solar trees” are expected to generate more than one megawatt of power, which should cover most of Tech City’s power needs.

Tech City is close to nature

Tech City is across the street from the San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park, a 7,200-acre mecca for hiking and biking with over 30 miles of trails, and there will be a pedestrian overpass to the park.

Down the road in the city of Alachua is the new Legacy Park, featuring an expansive recreation center.


“Tech City is about keeping talent here locally and providing jobs at every skillset in a live-work sustainable environment,” Blaser said.

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