Rooms containing exposed piping, bedrooms without windows and faulty Wi-Fi awaited Jamie Schemmel when he moved in to Hub Third Ave.
He signed a lease that advertised “furnished apartments that glisten with designer-quality finishes.” That’s not what he encountered in his first-floor, five-bedroom by five-bathroom unit.
These issues come at a time when UF students are starting a mostly online semester and are relying on apartments for Wi-Fi and safe study environments amid the rising positive COVID-19 cases on and off campus. Residents pay between $660 and $1,535 monthly, according to the apartment’s website, for rooms that many have said were quickly built at the last minute.
Schemmel, a 21-year-old UF economics and finance senior, decided to sign a lease at the newly built Hub Third Ave after seeing that it could fit him and six friends in one unit. Once there, he was met with uncured concrete ceilings, extremely low ceiling fans and no cellular service.
“We walked in and were like, ‘What the hell? This isn’t finished at all,’” Schemmel said.
Rachel Wolfrey, a 19-year-old UF political science and public relations sophomore, said she’s been unable to attend most of her live Zoom lectures since school started due to the issues.
“It’s unacceptable for the Wi-Fi to not be working,” Wolfrey said.
Along with internet issues, she said there’s no cellular service, a broken elevator, and an unfinished rooftop area which includes the pool. She said there was also a widespread air conditioning and power outage last Sunday, and her washer and dryer are broken.
Both of these residents said they reached out to the complex’s maintenance team with little to no response. Wolfrey said no relevant messaging has been sent out by the complex regarding the issues.
In an email to The Alligator, Sherman Modeste, the regional vice president of property management of Core Spaces, the company that owns Hub, wrote that the complex is addressing the issues. Hub Third Ave has upgraded the internet equipment, he wrote, and service has been restored.
The power outage affected the entire neighborhood including the Publix on NW 13th St., Modeste said.
“We know it has been a frustrating experience, and we are truly sorry our residents have had to endure these challenges.”
In addition to the complex on Third Avenue, Hub opened another Gainesville location this year on University Avenue. It is unclear whether similar problems are occurring there and Modeste did not provide an explanation.
Hub Third Ave showed signs that it was struggling before students even arrived. Wolfrey said she was supposed to move in on Aug. 18 before Hub pushed back everyone’s move-in date a week.
“I’ve been up here for about three months and everyday I’ve driven past the building and nobody was doing construction on it,” Wolfrey said. “It was very clear that it was not done being built.”
Wolfrey said Hub offered prorated rent, gift cards and hotel accommodations for those who needed it, but she wasn’t anticipating that her previous lease would end before she could move in. She asked the complex if she could be put in a hotel but was told she was too late.
“I was homeless for a week,” she said, “I had to stay with my boss.”
Wolfrey doesn’t see herself signing another lease with Hub.
Nora O'Neill is a fourth-year journalism and philosophy student and the Enterprise Editor for The Alligator. She previously served as the Avenue Editor and the business and economics beat reporter. In her free time you can find her reading books with no plot and abusing her Chemex.