University Village, a proposed student apartment residential village community planned for the San Amaro Drive area of campus – in the works since 1992 – will finally be actualized, now that UM and the UM Neighbors Homeowners Association [UMNHOA] have reached a mutual agreement on the 2004 development plans for the village, after months of mediation talks.
“We have agreed on the best possible plans for the neighbors and the University,” Sarah Artecona, UM spokesperson, said. “This was our ultimate goal all along.”
Terms of the agreement include housing for 800 upper class, graduate, law and medical students with parking for students and other University guests. All those who qualify will be able to sign up at the same time, with no priority given to higher-level students.
The design plan includes two to four-story buildings, each housing one, two and four-bedroom apartments and stipulates that the streets remain open. The University shall build up to 16 single-family town homes between Mataro and Corniche Avenues, which will only be occupied by faculty, administrators or adult employees of the University.
Parking will be created for students and visitors. Students who live at University Village will not have daytime parking privileges in the central campus during the school week, but must utilize the campus shuttle or walk to campus.
“Both the University and our neighbors care deeply and are committed to our Coral Gables neighborhood and we look forward to creating an apartment village that meets the high standards of our community and serves a crucial need for our students,” said President Donna E. Shalala.
The UMNHOA released this statement as part of the agreement: “The UMNHOA has worked with the University to resolve its objections to University Village. The University has modified its University Village plans to address our objections. The Association hereby withdraws its objections to the University Village.”
The exact cost of the project has not yet been determined.
The Miami Hurricane first reported on University Village in Nov. 2002. At the time, the area was planned to house an approximate 1100 students in 398 apartments with 1,058 on-site parking areas. Amenities included fully furnished living and dining rooms, a kitchen and washer and dryer. Additional amenities included a pool, a fitness room, study areas and computers.
University Village has been in the works since 1992 when the City of Coral Gables approved the original plans for the area. Those plans were halted as a result of the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew.
Since then, several modified plans have been submitted to the City of Coral Gables for approval.
UMNHOA concerns have included increased traffic and street closures in the area; residential density and proximity to the surrounding neighborhood; and security, noise and pedestrian safety concerns.
Both sides gathered signatures and printed informative newsletters throughout the process and held several community relation meetings and mediation sessions.
“We’ve been in mediation talks trying to hammer it away with the neighbors,” Artecona said. “We wanted to keep the integrity of University Village and the neighborhood.”
Before construction begins, UM must receive final approval from the City of Coral Gables. As of press time, no construction date had been set.
“We’re going to be very aggressive in getting the permits we still need ASAP,” Artecona said.
For more information, contact the University Village information line at 305-284-6728 or email questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jorge Arauz can be contacted at UM_newspaper@yahoo.com.