Anyone can buy one of these condos, but only FIU students, staff can live there. by Rene Rodriguez

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University Bridge Residences as seen from Tamiami Trail

Florida International University students will soon have the opportunity to cram for their finals inside comfortable, modern digs.

University Developments, a partnership between Miami-Based Global City Development and two Toronto firms, will build a new 20-story condo tower on a 1.7-acre lot at 740 SW 109th Avenue in Sweetwater.

The condos, which will be priced from $190,000 to nearly $700,000, will be available for anyone to purchase. But residents of the building must be registered FIU students, faculty or staff.

The building, to be called University Bridge Residences, will be comprised of 492 units, ranging in size from 300-square-foot studios to 1,634-square-foot four-bedroom layouts. Three- and four-bedroom townhouses will also be available, along with 7,200 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. There will be 600 parking spaces.

The firm Arquitectonica will handle interior and exterior design duties. The building will connect to the pedestrian bridge at SW Eighth Street and 109th Avenue, which is expected to be completed by summer 2018.

Roughly 8 percent of FIU’s students live in housing owned, operated or affiliated with the university, such as the 15-story 109 Tower building at 737 SW 109th Ave.

“The business case for building a student-focused residence across the street from one of the largest universities in the country is clear,” said Brian Pearl, principal and co-founder of Global City Development. “You have a captive rental audience that performs well in multiple economic environments.”

When completed, University Bridge Residences will be the first condo building in Miami-Dade catering exclusively to a university.

Private-sector investment in student housing is already popular in countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Argentina and Colombia. Although student housing accounted for only 6.6 percent of the total multifamily transaction volumes in the U.S. in 2016, the dollar figure — $9.2 billion — marked a 64.5 percent increase over the previous year.

Unlike traditional dorm spaces, which rely on common bathrooms and other shared amenities, every unit in the new building will have private bathrooms for each bedroom and be equipped with washers and dryers. The units will also be furnished.

FIU President Dr. Mark B. Rosenberg

FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg said nearly 3,700 of the Tamiami school’s 42,000 students live in campus dorms, with a waiting list of more than 700. Total attendance at FIU’s Tamiami and Biscayne Bay campuses is 56,000, making it one of the five largest public universities in the U.S.

“This year alone we’ve hired 130 faculty,” Rosenberg said. “For us, the growth is not about size, per se, but about using scale for leverage. The larger we are, the more opportunities we can provide for our students.”

Article courtesy of The Miami Herald, written by Rene Rodriguez: 305-376-3611@ReneMiamiHerald

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