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Thursday, June 20, 2024

UFORA apartment delays leave students scattered in August

The delay may last until September for some residents

<p>The UFORA apartment complex is seen at 1404 W University Ave. in Gainesville on Thursday, June 20, 2023. <br/><br/></p>

The UFORA apartment complex is seen at 1404 W University Ave. in Gainesville on Thursday, June 20, 2023.

UFORA residents are unsure when they can move in as the school year creeps up.

UFORA brands itself as a luxury apartment complex and is near UF and Sorority Row. The eight-story building houses 232 units with 663 bedrooms. The project for the complex was approved Aug. 21, 2020. 

Incoming residents received an email July 6 from Marcia Brown, the UFORA community manager, stating the new luxury apartment building is experiencing “contractor delays” and would not be ready for move-in by Aug. 5.

The email also included two options for the residents to choose from. 

UFORA would accommodate residents in local Hampton Inn, ALoft, Home2Suites, Hyatt Place and Holiday Inn hotels. They would also receive a $50 daily allowance. Residents will be able to access the money through the Modern Message app.

All the hotels were within walking distance or on a bus route with easy access to UF’s campus, Brown said in the email.

Alternatively, residents can choose to receive $600 weekly and arrange their own accommodations. Rent, pet rent and parking fees will be abated until the unit is ready for move-in.

July 22 marked the final day to submit a form for the weekly stipend. If residents did not respond in time, UFORA would accommodate the resident in a hotel by default.

While students are understanding of the delays, many are frustrated with UFORA’s lack of transparency.

Jason Collins Jr., a 21-year-old UF construction management junior, said the delays were out of the apartment’s control. Regardless, he felt disappointed by the lack of communication.

“A lot of things have happened in the industry to create a perfect storm for a lot of projects, not just UFORA,” Collins said. “However, I wish the ownership group was more forthright in being honest about the situation.” 

Collins believes the company, Asset Living, purposely gave as little info as possible because it was in their interest. 

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Joseph Starr, a 17-year-old UF freshman, agreed ownership hadn’t been transparent. Information might not even be clear internally, Starr said.

“As far as the communication, from what I understand, the ownership is not transparent with the management team, who is communicating with us, so I would guess more information regarding the construction is not being shared by the ownership and/or management,” he said.

However, Starr is not worried about the delay, he said. He would take the rent abatement and $600 because he has family friends in the area, as well as other living options, he said. 

“My situation is definitely unique, as I have other options,” Starr said. “However, I am hoping the construction is done before I have to move forward with alternate arrangements.”

Like Starr, some residents aren’t affected by the delay. 

Cooper Mastin, a 19-year-old UF biomedical engineering sophomore, said the company told him his room would most likely be available a week before classes begin.

“For me, it was almost beneficial since I will be getting paid for a period of time that I didn’t plan on being in Gainesville for anyway,” Mastin said. 

Other students have family support.

Jason Drucker, a 17-year-old UF media production and technology freshman, said he could stay with his older brother if needed. 

“I have been fortunate and haven’t been drastically affected,” Drucker said. “My brother is a rising junior at UF and is staying at the Delta Sig house, so I have the opportunity to stay there with him if I choose. Additionally, UFORA is providing great compensation … I am definitely taking liberty.”

The earliest move-in date is mid-August, UFORA said. However, the delays could last until the first week of September. Delays are common with new construction, but they do not know what specifically caused the delay and speculate a lack of materials.

Asset Living refused to comment when asked about the delay.

Contact Gabriel Velasquez Neira at gvelasquezneira@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @gvelasquezn.

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Gabriel Velasquez Neira

Gabriel Velasquez Neira is a second-year Journalism major, and the Audio Editor and Metro GA Reporter. In his free time, he enjoys sleeping, taking photos and playing guitar.


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