University Corners Approved for Corner of 13th Street and University Avenue

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By Caitlyn Finnegan

University Corners, the three-square-block complex planned to be built on the corner of Northwest 13th Street and University Avenue, has finally earned approval from the Gainesville City Commission after an hours-long debate over its impact on the already busy intersection.

In two 4-2 votes Thursday night, city commissioners gave the green light to Miami-Dade based developer Swerdlow Group for its planned development plan and rezoning of the development area. Mayor Braddy and Commissioner Todd Chase cast the dissenting votes in both approvals.

Long planned for the grassy field across from the northeast corner of the University of Florida campus, University Corners’ development plans have been stalled for years due to concerns over traffic impacts and the sheer scale of the building so close to campus.

Commissioners still seemed wary of the development’s impact on traffic congestion in the area, though the majority of members of the public who spoke during the meeting doubted many of the people living in or visiting the complex would use cars to access the building during peak hours of the day, instead opting to walk or bike.

The approved plans include an increase in the overall size of the buildings from eight stories to 10 stories, for a total height of 110 feet. The total building area also increased to 1.33 million square feet.

The complex will consist of three separate buildings, including 500 apartments or condominiums, a 250-room hotel and an on-site garage that can hold 1,200 vehicles. A grocery and retail space is also planned for the first floor of the development.

Developers will come back before the commission later in the year to ask for tax incentives for the development.

Photo: City of Gainesville