Studer Properties LLP
Pensacola, Florida, has always been a city rich in history and culture, but more recently major developments have begun to attract new businesses, more jobs and drawn new residents with the transformation of Pensacola’s downtown area. The city is now home to world-class dining, a waterfront Double-A baseball stadium, a downtown community park, new office buildings and more retail offerings.
Palafox Place runs through the heart of Pensacola and is a major commercial area. The once–shuttered downtown street has been given new life and was recently named one of the 10 Best Streets in America by the American Planning Association.
Studer Properties LLP is a major development player in this effort, serving Pensacola since 2006 with leading commercial, retail, residential and redevelopment projects that center on bettering the three pillars of community — live, work and play.
Real estate development — a community building tool
“Whenever we’re eyeing a new project or idea we ask ourselves, ‘Is this the next right thing that will serve a community need, continue ongoing investment in Pensacola, create jobs and improve quality of life?’” says Andrew Rothfeder, president of Studer Properties. “We didn’t build this business because we want to be in real estate development so much as we want to create jobs, generate investment, new business and a strong tax base using real estate development as a tool in the community building toolbox.”
This mission to build community through the right real estate developments has steered Studer Properties since Quint Studer and his wife, Rishy Studer co-founded the company in early 2006. For the last decade, the couple has been dedicated to cultivating a vibrant community, diverse neighborhoods and strong sense of place in Pensacola.
“In my travels, while staying in many cities around the U.S. I noticed the gentrification of neighborhoods,” says Quint. “This inspired me and in 2004 I began research and learned about economic development in this area from a Gallup study. I started to think more about why some cities grow and why some don’t.”
Quint started to realize what was important in a vibrant city and began to formulate a roadmap for Pensacola. “When the Double-A baseball team came to Pensacola that started to attract a lot of people and it still does,” he says. “We also brought in some urban designers and planners to help bring more restaurants, bars and retail stores to downtown.”
Sometimes the vision wasn’t crystal clear, but Quint says he knew the progression of Pensacola wouldn’t happen overnight. “You have to be comfortable in starting something small,” he says.
The next step, market-rate residential serving a broad demographic
After forays into many successful commercial developments, Studer Properties saw something missing in Pensacola — a high-quality, market-rate residential development. “After a lot of research, we decided this is the missing piece,” says Quint. “Every study for years has shown this need downtown.”
The $52 million Studer Apartments project will provide 258 units of housing at a reasonable price point in downtown Pensacola. “Our goal is to provide rental housing downtown at a price point that the market can value and absorb. This is the culmination of many years of research,” adds Andrew. “This was a challenge though and we had to work hard to provide amenities and quality while keeping the rent reasonable.”
The project encompasses a full city block and includes 15,000 square feet of retail space on the ground level. “We’re highly selective of who we pick for the retail space,” says Quint. “A key part of developing a vibrant downtown is increasing foot traffic so we’ve done a lot of research into retailers’ business plans and financials. We want to make sure they’re successful and will draw business to the block.”
The market-rate apartment rentals start at $750 for studios; $1,100 for one-bedroom units; $1,500 for two bedrooms; and three-bedroom apartments will start at $2,400. The design and amenities of the project were developed based on market studies, focus groups and surveys — resulting in a customer-driven value proposition of unique downtown living and resort-style amenities.
Andrew says there has been so much interest in the apartment development that Studer Properties had prospective tenants calling to reserve a unit before construction even began. “We have 760 people on the waiting list to rent units — everyone from empty nesters and retirees to millennials and young couples and families,” says Andrew. “As a token of our gratitude to them for their interest and patience we’re opening up a contest to future residents to name the building.”
“We’re excited to bring more people downtown,” adds Rishy Studer, co-owner of Studer Properties. “I love the fact that people are getting excited about it.”
The first blog of apartments is scheduled for delivery in June 2017. “Our hope is that is the first of many residential projects downtown,” adds Andrew.
Adding amenities with YMCA and mix-used office-retail
This apartment development is part of a larger four part multiuse neighborhood in the works thanks to Studer Properties. Collectively, the development area totals 5.8 acres, including 1 acre gifted by Studer Properties to construct a brand-new YMCA facility. “Quint and Rishy donated the land and $5 million to the $16 million YMCA project,” says Andrew.
The 52,000-square-foot YMCA is going up at the corner of Intendencia and Tarragona streets and will bring a home for community activities, programs and amenities to the area. This project is slated for December 2016 completion.
The third element in the large-scale vision is a $14 million four-story mixed-use office building adjacent to the YMCA. Still in the schematic design phase, this project is set to complete by the end of 2017. “The building includes three floors of Class-A office, with 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail-restaurant space,” says Andrew.
With so many projects Studer Properties continues its ongoing, purposeful investment in Pensacola. “Our goal is to improve the quality of life here,” says Quint. “We estimate that every week our firm invests $650,000 in downtown improvements and redevelopment.”
Studer Properties is proud to be part of Pensacola’s vision for the future, building a roadmap to prosperity through community-centered real estate development.
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