The Price of Convenience: How The Standard Is Shaping Local Politics

The Standard retail and apartment complex on March 12, 2017. (Photo by John Lievonen/FPR)

Soon to be located in the heart of Gainesville, The Standard apartment complex markets itself as the preeminent residence of choice for students at the University of Florida. At the corner of West University Avenue and Northwest 13th Street, this Landmark Property will be equipped with a variety of floor plan options, a rooftop pool, gaming rooms, an internet café, extensive fitness facilities, and even a golf simulation room.

If that is not enough, there will also be a Target Express with a CVS, Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, and a Bento Café located on the first floor.

To continue this flow of convenience, there will also be a Publix down the street to cater to the many students who will need a place to do their grocery shopping. This array of luxurious amenities and accommodations paints a picture of a bustling, lively municipality with everything that a college student could desire and more.

Unfortunately, however, this impending paradise has not come without its fair share of controversy.

The location of The Standard is perhaps the most appealing aspect of the building; it is positioned adjacent to midtown and directly across West University Avenue from the University of Florida’s campus: the ideal spot for student housing.  One likely downside to this opportune location is the heavy influx of traffic that it will inevitably generate.

With hundreds of students already committed to living at The Standard next year, there will be a surge of pedestrians walking across University to go to class, across 13th to go grocery shopping at the new Publix, as well as all along the avenue to enjoy the many restaurants and shops that are now available.

While this may seem like a positive outcome for the students, many Gainesville locals worry about the growing crowds being lured to the already hectic University Avenue area.

City Commission District 2 candidates Harvey Ward and Sheryl Eddie voiced their opinions about the construction of The Standard at the University Park Neighborhood Association candidate forum on February 19 of this year.  

Despite their often-conflicting opinions on many issues, the candidates agreed that they did not support the construction of The Standard and yearned to go back in time to before the plans were put in place – but hindsight is 20/20.  

David Arreola, a candidate for the City Commission District 3 seat, affirmed that the development of The Standard and the new Publix will create “the most ridiculous corner in all of Alachua County” and that the City Commission “will have to do better”.  

There have been ideas proposed to combat the traffic issue, such as an increase in the size of the sidewalks, provision of auxiliary roads, and the implementation of underground or overhead crossways. Many hope these proposals will transpire to assist in slowing down traffic to ensure that students and pedestrians are safe as they maneuver from one place to another.

Of course, these compelling notions will remain just that unless they are put into action. Only time will tell if this will indeed become a “ridiculous corner” or perhaps a safe mecca in the heart of Gator country.

In an email to The Independent Florida Alligator, Landmark Properties said that 1,200 bedrooms are expected to be ready for the Fall 2017 semester.

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