Attracting businesses

Developer aims to lure tenants to multipurpose structure

This new Waco Properties "spec building" southwest of downtown Alachua could be ready for occupancy within 60 to 90 days. The 103,300-square-foot structure is designed to accomodate several uses including office, showroom or warehouse space.

LARA NEEL/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, January 7, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 6, 2004 at 10:09 p.m.
Construction is nearly complete on a "spec building" intended to attract businesses to locate on about 1,700 acres southwest of downtown Alachua owned by Waco Properties Inc.
The structure could be ready for occupancy within 60 to 90 days, company officials said, although no prospective tenants have been named. Most of the potential tenants are interested in using the building as a distribution center, Waco Properties manger David Pope said.
Also called a "flex building," the 103,300-square-foot structure, just over twice the size of a supermarket, is designed to accommodate several uses, including office, showroom or warehouse space, Waco Properties president Jack Dyer said. Companies have the option to lease part or all of the building, located south of the Dollar General distribution warehouse on County Road 235A.
"We anticipate it will be someone local," Dyer said of who will occupy the building. "But it could be a larger, regional distributer."
The company spent about $3.5 million building the structure, which will make it easier to find a tenant by allowing companies to locate there without waiting until a new building is constructed, Pope said.
"A big factor in putting that building there is people are looking for space and want it within say six months," he said. "We've been contacted on several occasions over the years with interest in the property, but they were looking for existing buildings."
Flex buildings are common in larger cities such as Tampa or Orlando, but somewhat rare for a city the size of Alachua, which has a population of about 6,500 people, said Brent Christensen, president of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce.
"It's a real advantage to us in Gainesville to see development like this because we struggle in terms of having high quality space in inventory," he said. "When you think economic development, our inventory are buildings, and land that's zoned properly for warehouse or light manufacturing."
City officials approved the site plan for the building in 2002, and Alachua City Manager Clovis Watson said authorities have not yet been presented with an application for a certificate of occupancy.
"We definitely want smart growth, growth that's conducive to this community," he said.
Plans were announced last year for a Wal-Mart distribution center to be built near the site, although construction has not yet begun on the proposed 1.2-million-square-foot warehouse.
Wal-Mart, which has has an option to purchase the land from Waco Properties, received the commission's approval last year after much debate. In July, the company announced it would likely delay the project, citing shaky economic conditions.
Rachel Kipp can be reached at (352) 374-5086 or

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