Shaping hot property
Published: Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.
The intersection of Tower Road and SW 24th Avenue is hot property.
A new Regions bank opened last week at the southwest corner and a mixed-use development with retail, office and housing is under construction behind it. A developer plans to build a mixed-use development on nine acres behind Walgreens on the southeast corner and another developer is trying to get approval for mixed use on three acres at the northwest corner.
The hot property has also become a flashpoint for neighbors concerned about traffic and growth issues, and county growth rules may prevent some of the proposed development.
The Robinshore construction company and Bob Rowe, co-developer of Haile Plantation, are behind the 17-acre Tower 24 development on the southwest corner. They sold an out-parcel to Regions bank, which opened Jan. 2, and are building two 14,000-square-foot buildings behind it for retail and office use. They also sold adjoining property to the west to Joyner Construction, which is in the process of building 48 attached, single-family homes listed to sell for $250,000 to $355,000.
Broker Mike Ryals of Bosshardt Realty said the retail/office space will include neighborhood businesses such as a restaurant, dry cleaner, chiropractor, insurance company or financial services, although no tenants are committed.
The attraction to the area is a highly traveled intersection and some of Gainesville's highest household incomes, he said. Within five miles, the population is 108,747 people and the average household income is $62,000, according to his brochure.
Across Tower Road behind Walgreens are plans for a 2- to 3-story, mixed-use development with residential on the top floor and retail/office below. Developers are working through the zoning and planning process and could start building around the summer of 2009.
The site is approved for a maximum of about 50,000 square feet of nonresidential, according to Gerry Dedenbach of Causseaux, Hewett and Walpole, planners and engineers for the project on behalf of owners Cotton and Gloria Fletcher.
The site would also include neighborhood businesses such as boutiques and specialty shops, Dedenbach said.
At the northwest corner, the site of the vacant Hope Community Church, AJL Investments is seeking a land use change from institutional and low-density residential to mixed-use/medium density and to be included in the county's Tower 24 Activity Center, which includes certain design standards, according to project planner Clay Sweger of Eng, Denman and Associates.
If approved by the county commission, the change would allow up to 14 single-family homes and up to 10,000 square feet of retail/office space, but Sweger said there is no development plan yet. The county staff and planning commission have recommended denial because roads are over traffic capacity and the activity center is already above the amount of retail space called for in the comp plan.
All the new development does not sit well with some neighbors.
Rob Cubert opposed a comp plan amendment for the southeast corner and has collected 150 signatures on a petition opposed to plans for the northwest corner. That issue was before the county commission Tuesday, but was postponed until Jan. 22.
While Cubert opposes the growth on several grounds, he said everyone he's spoken to is in agreement that traffic is the main problem.
"Traffic here is bad and likely to get worse, and approving more development without approving capital infrastructure amounts to irresponsible behavior," he said.
Neighbors previously started the Southwest Alliance for Planning when plans for Walgreens and Eckerd's, now CVS, came up at the same time.
Anthony Clark can be reached at 352-374-5094 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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