Zimmer Development Company
Zimmer Development Company assembled prime pieces of land to bring luxury student living to Tallahassee.
By Staci Davidson
Zimmer Development Company (ZDC) is looking for long-term value in its properties. This guides everything the company does, so it has become known as a developer that remains invested, and isn’t quickly onto the next thing.
ZDC always looks for great locations, and then jumps if it sees ongoing and long-term value. This is the key to the company’s ongoing success. “We aim to have the best locations,” Partner Landon Zimmer says. “We will take a risk if we see long-term value in a project. That’s what we do.” ZDC’s work in Tallahassee is a good example of the value and quality the developer can bring to a community.
In the Florida capital and college town, ZDC is working on two phases of a major student housing project, known as Stadium Enclave and Urban Enclave. The first phase – Stadium Enclave – opened in fall 2018, but ZDC has been working on the project for four years, creating housing that is far above what many students have the chance to experience.
Located across the street from Florida State University’s (FSU) Doak Campbell Stadium, Stadium Enclave is a luxury student-living facility with fully furnished one-, two- and four-bedroom apartment units. Each unit comes with a sofa, lounge chair, 51-inch 4K flat screen TV, coffee table, high-top chairs, washer, dryer and more.
The full kitchens feature stainless steel appliances, subway tile backsplash and granite countertops. Fiber-optic cable runs directly into the units with gigabit-wired speeds, ensuring residents have reliable service with a higher-bandwidth ceiling than competitive developments. Stadium Enclave’s amenities include:
* A 4,000-square-foot, saltwater resort-style pool
* A gameday pavilion
* State-of-the-art, 24-hour outdoor fitness center; Yoga studio
* Trailhead with multiple point of access to the newly developed St. Marks Trail.
The development has a clubhouse with a pool table, flat screen TVs, game room and a social lounge. The Stadium Enclave property also is equipped with a 20-foot-wide, large-screen TV, barbecue grilling stations, fire pit, tanning beds, individual and group study rooms, PC and Mac computer lab with printers, coffee bar, beach volleyball court, dog park and access to numerous biking and walking trails.
“This is our premier location,” Zimmer stresses. “Demand was strong enough that we built a phase two and so far we have been very pleased with phase one’s re-leasing rate.”
ZDC was attracted to this property and saw the value it possessed because of so much other development going on nearby. To the south of the Stadium/Urban Enclaves project, Tallahassee is extending the FAMU Way roadway, near Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), to enhance the east-west thoroughfare.
The city aims to have it finished by Fall 2020, and its goal is to make the roadway safer, increase mobility, enhance the community’s recreational opportunities with bike, pedestrian and mass-transit paths, and make it one of the city’s most beautiful arteries. To the north of ZDC’s development is Gaines Street, which is home to a new Publix grocery store as well as a walkable crop of shops, bars and eateries such as a brewing company, whiskey bar, pie shop and places for brunch.
In the near future, FSU will have access to the Stadium and Urban Enclaves because the city is building a new road in the southwest area of the campus, and FSU will add a new community garden and playground. Seeing the potential in this part of the city, ZDC had to ensure the development’s property ready would be ready for construction.
The company worked with Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and its brownfields program to remediate the site. It also had to improve the property’s infrastructure, and though all this took time, ZDC is pleased with how the development is coming along.
“The area started as a cement and concrete plant,” Zimmer explains. “We ended up assembling close to 60 parcels of land to put it together, and they had different owners, so that was a long process. But we knew it would work because it is near Florida State University, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical, Tallahassee Community College and Lively Technical College, so we could draw tenants from all of those schools. The area covers about 30 acres in total, and we’ve done a lot of great things with it. We are very grateful to the community and city for helping us along the way. We didn’t have to rezone the area, but we did need to get our site plan approved.”
ZDC also worked with the Tallahassee community on another project. As part of its redevelopment of its own property, ZDC bought and old rail spur from CSX Transportation. This parcel of land provided “the missing link” of the St. Marks pedestrian and biking trail between Tallahassee and the Gulf Coast. The city had been trying to finish the trail project for more than 20 years.
“For Zimmer Development Company and Stadium Enclave, being a part of the community runs even deeper than our project,” Zimmer said at the trail’s grand opening. “When the city planners shared their frustration at not being able to acquire a CSX Railroad parcel for decades to accommodate the desire for a trail extension, I made a commitment to see this trail become a reality. We were able to buy all the necessary land from the old CEMEX cement plant, CSX and other necessary pieces to make it all come together. We believe in building a legacy in the communities where we invest, and we are proud to be building a legacy here in Tallahassee and as a neighbor to Florida State University.”
The Perfect Area
The Stadium Enclave development involves 10 three-story structures that house 185 units and more than 600 beds. It was completed last summer, and now ZDC is building Urban Enclave, which will be ready for move-in this fall. Urban Enclave will offer 165 two- and four-bedroom units, coming to 565 beds. Each bedroom in this luxury student-living community will have its own bathroom, walk-in closet, cloud-feel mattress, bed with storage, pull-out night stand, desk and office chair.
The units are fully furnished, similar to the furnishings of Stadium Enclave. Amenities at Urban Enclave will include Tallahassee’s only resort-style infinity pool, state-of-the-art 24-hour fitness center, yoga studio, Palm Allee courtyard, waterfall feature, clubhouse, social lounge, study rooms for individuals and groups, grilling stations, a 24-hour Starbucks coffee bar, community park, dog park and more.
Zimmer explains it was important to provide this level of luxury, because that is what the market is demanding. “There is good competition here because these are big schools,” he says. “If you want to be better than the rest, you have to have the best facilities. These are high-end, garden-style apartments with a lot of open areas. We spent a lot on the land and the area because this is a perfect area where everyone wants to be. Demand is there, so we provided a lot of outdoor spaces, community space, pocket parks, green space and we connect to a bunch of trails.”
He notes Urban Enclave is shaping up to be received as well as Stadium Enclave has been, and this bodes well for ZDC’s future in the student housing market. “Urban Enclave is a little more higher-end,” he says. “It will have fewer tenants, but more study areas – for group and private study, as well as indoor and outdoor study spaces. We are hoping to develop more student housing here soon, because the we have the land and the demand is there.”