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Miami-Based Food Group to Develop a New 13,742 SF Food Hall Concept in Gainesville Near UF

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Mercado Food Group Plans to Construct a Unique Food Experience Near the University of Florida

Gainesville, Fla, March 1, 2022– The Colliers leasing team of Jason Hurst, Bennett Harrell (The Hurst & Harrell Team) and Whitney Spangler are excited to announce a long-term deal to bring a 13,742 square-foot food hall experience to the ground floor of The Standard student housing development across from the University of Florida. The Standard is an 8-story, 1,200 bed student housing asset owned by Landmark Properties, an Athens, Georgia-based student housing developer. This student housing development also has over 50,000 SF of ground floor retail space with national brands such Chick-fil-A, Chase Bank, Target and Orange Theory.

The new food hall concept will be the latest major tenant added to the retail mix at The Standard. The food hall will feature 11 fast casual food concepts, a full- service bar, Top Golf Swing Suite bays, axe-throwing and more. The developer of the food hall is the Mercado Food Group – a Miami, Florida based firm – headed by Peter Rounce who used to be a principal with a renowned food hall developer. The Mercado Food Group currently owns and operates an award-winning food hall in Miami, Florida.  The Mercado Food Group hopes to bring Miami vibes and a new twist on food culture to the Gainesville market and plans to adapt the new food hall to the Gator Nation with a University of Florida-themed buildout and experience.

“COVID has certainly changed the dynamics and site requirements of the food industry,” Says Jason Hurst, Broker and Director at Colliers. “We knew that a food hall concept would be an ideal solution to give restaurants both a smaller footprint size to operate as well as economies of scale to help manage the risks associated with both real estate and business growth.  When we met the Mercado Food Group, we knew we had the right operators with experience to bring a winning concept to the Gator Nation.”

There is no set date for the opening of the food hall at The Standard just yet, but they are aiming to have it open sometime mid-2022.

For more information, please contact:


Jason Hurst                                  Whitney Spangler      

(352) 256-6714                            (404) 375-4061                   

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Jason Hurst

Associate Vice President


Jason Hurst is a Chicagoland native who graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2005 with a Masters of Business Administration from the School of Business & Industry at Florida A&M University with a concentration in Finance.  He has 7 years of successful experience with a variety of Fortune 100 companies such as Pfizer, Inc., JP Morgan, and State Farm Insurance.  Jason began his career as a Private Wealth analyst in Manhattan with JP Morgan Private Bank and has endeavored into both finance and sales during his corporate career.  Jason also has experience as a savvy entrepreneur as he has run three successful businesses across various industries throughout the State of Florida. Jason served for six years as a Director and Senior Vice President at Avison Young as a leading Agency Leasing broker for the Florida Retail Team. Jason had the pleasure of representing institutional clients such as Kimco Properties, Regency Centers, Site Centers, Washington Prime and several private shopping center owners throughout the state of Florida.  Personally, Jason serves on the City of Gainesville Plan Board and as an active member of ICSC and ULI North Florida Chapter, and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

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Bennett Harrell



Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Bennett moved to Gainesville, Florida where he graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelors degree in Food and Resource Economics with a specialization in business management and marketing. Upon Graduating from the University of Florida in 2017, Bennett joined a local boutique real estate firm specializing in both residential and commercial sales and leasing. Prior to joining Colliers International in 2020, Bennett was an associate with Avison Young specializing in both landlord and tenant representation for retail, office, and industrial clients.

Bennett brings to colliers both the managerial and marketing skills needed in any given real estate transaction, but also  the personal skills that are often needed to get a transaction successfully to the finish line leaving all parties involved satisfied. 

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Whitney Spangler

Senior Vice President


Whitney Spangler joined Colliers International in May 2013 with the focus on Landlord Representation and specializing in marketing strategies, trade area analysis, tenant merchandising, and deal making. Ms. Spangler has over a decade of experience in the real estate industry representing institutional and regional landlords with community centers and intown developments in metro Atlanta and the southeast.

Prior to joining Colliers International, Ms. Spangler was a leasing agent for Riverwood Properties, LLC and was responsible for leasing approximately 682,000± SF of unanchored leasing space and maintaining a 95% occupancy level throughout her term.

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