Student apartments — with oyster shell-esque exterior — coming near Doak Campbell Stadium

A short walk from Doak Campbell Stadium, a seven-story mixed-use development called Perla at the Enclave will soon be the latest and tallest student housing development for the CollegeTown area.

The $100 million project is located at West Gaines Street and Lake Bradford Road and brings more than 220 apartments, roughly 19,390 square feet of retail space on the first and second floor and a parking garage, permit documents show. The second through seventh floors will house apartments intended to serve 600 students.

The exterior will stand out from its neighboring developments due to its pink iridescent metal-shifting panels, which are designed to resemble an oyster shell. It’s an architectural wink to Florida’s oyster farming history.

Construction for the Perla project is slated to begin sometime next year once it’s fully permitted. Construction will likely finish within 18 months.

It will be the sixth project in the capital city for the North Carolina-based Zimmer Development Company, which describes its latest venture as the “capstone project for the Gaines Street Corridor creating a new marker for the entry to Collegetown.”

Other Tallahassee projects by Zimmer Development Company include:

  • Stadium Enclave — three-story structure completed in 2018: 601 beds
  • Urban Enclave — three-story structure completed in 2019: 565 beds
  • Prospect Row East/West/North — three-story townhomes completed in 2021 and 2022: 193 beds
  • Viridian One — Fully permitted, five-story boutique apartments under construction this year; (not exclusively student housing) with approximately 12,000 square feet of commercial and retail: 465 beds
  • Embassy Suites Hotel — 225-room, seven story hotel under way and still in design phase.

Q&A with the Landon Zimmer, managing partner at Zimmer Development Company

How does the Perla at the Enclave complement your company’s other developments in the Gaines Street/CollegeTown area?

With the Airport Gateway coming soon, we really think that this project (the Perla) will be the crown jewel of the Gaines Street/CollegeTown area. After working with the city, we actually decreased the number of beds and units in order to accommodate more commercial and retail space here on the corner of Gaines and Lake Bradford, which is what we consider to be the nose on the face of Gaines Street.

How is Perla similar or different from your other projects?

Each of ZDC’s Tallahassee projects is unique from one another and that is by design . Perla will be seven stories tall and will have a glass and metallic façade that currently doesn’t exist anywhere else in the city. We’ve been taking our time with this design and project in order to make it an iconic structure on the corner of Lake Bradford and Gaines.  With the visibility from Doak and the university, we hope that this will become a structure that is nationally identifiable.

How does your company view Tallahassee’s student housing market in terms of your interest in bringing more student housing options to the capital city?

Since ZDC began developing student housing in the Tallahassee market back in 2015, we have always been methodical and developed with a long-term strategy of holding onto these developments, which is something we take pride in.  ZDC isn’t looking to build the maximum units per acre or sell immediately after lease-up. In being a family-owned business, ZDC has been able to make adjustments to design and structure that many companies wouldn’t typically care about.

We had an inkling that CollegeTown and this area were at the beginning of something special back in 2015 and in acquiring over 40 acres next to campus, ZDC has been able to be systematic in it’s approach, which we think will lead to a better final product as well as a product that is complementary to the University and neighborhood. ZDC plans to be in Tallahassee for the long-run and isn’t looking to saturate the market and we think that our student products in CollegeTown, which include garden style apartments with lots of green space, townhomes with amenities, boutique apartments, and eventually the Perla will all be something unique and different, which we hope will stand the test of time.

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