Student housing developer moves forward with Coral Gables project 

Nearly 400-unit, eight-story building would replace retail strip on US 1, home to Bagel Emporium, TGI Friday’s

Landmark Properties’ J. Wesley Rogers and James Whitley with rendering of 1250 South Dixie Highway
Landmark Properties’ J. Wesley Rogers and James Whitley with rendering of 1250 South Dixie Highway (Landmark Properties, Getty)

A student housing developer plans a mixed-use apartment project that would replace a retail center along U.S. 1, across from the University of Miami in Coral Gables. 

Athens, Georgia-based Landmark Properties is in contract to buy the property at 1250 South Dixie Highway, home to longtime tenants that include Bagel Emporium and TGI Friday’s, according to a proposal filed with the city. 

Landmark is proposing to build The Mark, an eight-story, 396-unit residential complex with about 19,000 square feet of commercial space and live/work units. 

Landmark and the current property owner, University Shopping Centre LLP, went before the Coral Gables Development Review Committee on Friday for land use and zoning amendments, as well as conditional use for a mixed-use site plan. The committee marks the first step in the review process. City staff provided comments to the developer, and the plans would next head to the Coral Gables Board of Architects. 

The 3.2-acre University Centre currently includes a 60,000-square-foot retail center built in 1953 and a large parking lot. It last sold in 2015 for $4.2 million, records show. 

Landmark, led by co-founders J. Wesley Rogers and James Whitley, develops and manages student housing and single-family communities, according to the company’s website. It also owns a student housing complex it plans to redevelop west of the University of Miami. 

Coral Gables-based Behar Font & Partners is the architect for the new U.S. 1 project. The development calls for two mid-rise buildings that connect at a fifth-story bridge, a paseo running through the two buildings at the ground level, restaurant/retail space, and amenities that include pools for the residential units, according to the project application. The apartments would range from one- to three-bedroom units. 

The proposal pegs the estimated cost of development at $70 million. The project would connect to an existing pedestrian bridge crossing U.S. 1 

A handful of new mixed-use apartment projects have been recently built along U.S. 1 in Coral Gables and nearby Miami, many near Metrorail stations. 

In August, Hines paid $430 million for Gables Station at 237 South Dixie Highway. Developers 54 Madison Partners and Nolan Reynolds International sold the LifeTime-branded development built in 2021. It  includes 95 apartments, an 80,000-square-foot athletic club, 25,000 square feet of co-working space, a Trader Joe’s, specialty foods market Graziano’s and restaurants. 

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