From Painters to Partners | John & Phil of Trimark Properties

John Fleming and Phil Wagner of Trimark Properties, a leading student housing and commercial real estate developer, have been serving the Gainesville community for 27 years. 

Fleming moved to Gainesville to attend the University of Florida in 1985. He used his background in construction to work as a maintenance supervisor to pay for college. With his extra time, he took painting and landscaping jobs with his roommate. 

In 1987, Wagner left Fort Myers and stepped into the city of Gainesville to attend Santa Fe College. He knew Fleming’s roommate and began joining their painting and landscaping gigs to pay for his education. His parents were in the real estate industry, so he had prior experience in the field. Fleming and Wagner painted their first house together in a Victorian home in Arlington Square. 

“We worked our way through school, both of us, and that painting company paid through a lot of getting through school.”

Painting throughout college together built the foundation for their friendship and soon-to-be partnership.

“Painting was probably the most fun we had because we’d sit there and just talk about stuff,” Wagner said. 

They would be painting walls together for big developers in town until 4 a.m. and began to dream about what they would do if they owned their own real estate development company. After graduation, Fleming and Wagner both had separate jobs in the real estate industry but continued to stay connected. 

In 1993, Fleming started Trimark Properties to offer luxury and affordable apartments to college students. Wagner was the President of Collier Companies, a real estate development company, but soon came on board as a partner of Trimark Properties in 2004. Finally, they put their dream of running a business together into play. 

Now, Trimark Properties specializes in infill developments in the urban core. The company continues to serve its residential community but is pushing to grow the commercial side of the business. Fleming and Wagner’s goal is to connect the University of Florida to Downtown Gainesville. 

Despite having a successful company with over 80 employees, Fleming and Wagner still play a major role in running and operating their business. 

“We’re trying to strive to do something more and to do that, you’ve gotta be involved.”

Listen to the 148th episode of the WHOA GNV podcast to learn more about the story behind how John Fleming and Phil Wagner went from painters to partners.

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