Cloisterf**k: Landmark’s UM housing unfinished, students stuck in hotel

Developer informed tenants on Aug. 13 of the delays; expected move-in is now early September

Landmark Properties UM Cloisters Apartments Remain Unfinished
Landmark Properties J. Wesley Rogers and James Whitley with The Cloisters Miami (Landmark Properties, Google Maps, Getty)

Move-in day never goes smoothly for college students, but rarely does it end with staying at a hotel for weeks. 

That’s the case for would-be tenants of the Cloisters, a student apartment complex near the University of Miami, developed by Landmark Properties. Property management informed its student residents on Sunday, Aug. 13 that their apartments would not be ready for their arrival the following Friday, according to an email obtained by The Real Deal. Classes started this past Monday. 

“An unexpected and unfortunate delay has led our construction contractor to push back completion of the project,” the letter read. 

Just 12 days earlier, the management team was urging tenants to prepare for their “Move In, Groove In,” in an email stylized with psychedelic motifs and advice in preparation of the big day.

“We suggest you make your first payment by August 1st to avoid any move-in delays!” it read. 

Instead of moving students into their rented apartments, Athens, Georgia-based Landmark put them up in hotel rooms at the Thesis Hotel Miami. Thesis is a four-star hotel near the Coral Gables university campus with a pool, a gym and a free shuttle to school. The developer, led by CEO Wes Rogers, also offered tenants a $50 daily stipend for food and to reimburse the costs of storage for personal items in the interim, according to the letter. 

Amanda Mohamad, a sophomore at the University of Miami, filmed a TikTok from her room at the Thesis set to Taylor Swift’s song, “Never Grow Up.” The lyrics, “Here I am in my new apartment” openly jabbed at the fact that she was not, in fact, in her new apartment. 

Mohamad said she knows the delays are “not what [Landmark] wanted to happen.” Still, she is disappointed to be in a hotel room rather than her one-bedroom apartment, which will be closer to classes. She is on a waitlist for a mini fridge and a microwave, and is doing her laundry in the one machine on the hotel’s fourth floor, she said. 

After a drive-by of the Cloisters site with her parents, the journalism student also doubts her move-in date will come any time soon. “Looking at the outside alone it looks like there is a lot of work to be done,” she said. 

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In its message on Aug. 13, Landmark offered Sept. 2 and 3 as new move-in dates for tenants. 

The developer offered a less specific timeline in a statement to TRD, writing, “We anticipate welcoming all residents to the Cloisters Miami by early September.”

Landmark noted that the Cloisters still requires construction work as well as county government approvals. Records show the apartment complex has yet to receive its temporary certificate of occupancy.

It also confirmed that rent payments will be expected, even if construction delays persist. “Landmark plans to follow payment timelines as outlined in the lease,” it said in a separate statement.

The project’s general contractor, Miami-based BDI Construction, did not respond to requests for comment. 

Landmark bought the Cloisters site for $23.3 million in 2021. The acquisition included the existing apartment complex at 5830 Southwest 57th Avenue, and an adjacent, vacant 2-acre parcel. 

Last year, the developer announced plans to expand the Cloisters, adding 36 townhomes with 168 bedrooms on the vacant land, and renovating the existing units. According to the plans, the completed Cloisters project will have 115 units, 296 bedrooms and 191 parking spaces. The Winter family’s W5 Group and private equity firm Peninsula U.S. Real Estate are also investors in the project.

Landmark Properties has student housing complexes across Florida and throughout the country, with $11 billion in assets under management, according to a recent press release. In an interview with CNBC on Thursday, CEO Rogers noted the firm focuses on top 200 universities, like the University of Miami, many of which have student housing shortages. High demand and short supply for student apartments means “very consistent and stable cash flows over a long period of time,” he said in the interview.

Players across the real estate industry recognize the profit potential in student housing. In 2021, Landmark partnered with investment giant Blackstone on a $748 million joint venture to acquire a 5,400-bed student housing portfolio. Last year, Blackstone doubled down on student housing and bought American Campus Communities for $12.8 billion.

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