William Scheel: Spirit of Gainesville nominee

Published: Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 5:06 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 5:06 p.m.

In the early 1980’s Billy Scheel started developing downtown Gainesville after graduating from the University of Florida. He first purchased Richenbachers, a music bar, followed by Lillian’s Music Store. With those doing well he partnered with Harry’s Seafood and convinced them to locate in Downtown Gainesville. In order to improve the vitality and redevelopment of downtown Billy teamed up with Ken McGurn to help occupy the retail space at Union Street Station putting in Hooter’s, which later changed to Dragonfly, and brought in 101 Downtown. In Union Street Station he added Mark’s Prime Steakhouse. He only added businesses that would complement the other existing businesses. He still still does that today, turning down tenants that would not complement with the existing downtown businesses, in an effort to create a diverse mix. Next he was instrumental in bringing the Hampton Inn & Suites downtown as a partner. Under the hotel he put in Urban Flats which transitioned to Vellos. As an avid cigar smoker, he recently opened Havana’s Downtown Cigars; this has created a space that brings people together to share a hobby. He recently renovated the building located at 12 SE 2nd Ave., further enhancing the environment downtown. Billy’s dedication to increasing the vitality, safety, and sense of community has been a valuable asset within the community. Through his support of the annual Downtown Arts Festival, walk to support breast cancer and Stop Children’s Cancer, Billy continues to value his community as well as our Downtown. Thanks for your consideration.


Category: Entrepreneurship

About William Scheel

Occupation: Restaurants/ Real Estate

Years in Gainesville: 42

Spouse: Colleen Scheel

Children: 4

Submitted by Adam Bass

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