County approves entrance road, bus lanes for Celebration Pointe

Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 6:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 6:12 p.m.

The first piece of the Celebration Pointe development can move forward with county approval Thursday of the entrance road to include space set aside for bus rapid transit lanes.

The road — Southwest 45th Street — approved by the Development Review Committee will link Archer Road to the village center.

Celebration Pointe is planned as a walkable, mixed-use development of as many as 2,225 residences — primarily townhouses, condominiums, apartments and a hotel — and 896,000 square feet of retail and office space focused around a village center of more than 100 acres. Another 100 acres would remain undeveloped. It is located north of Archer Road between Lake Kanapaha and the west side of Interstate 75.

“This is really just the first piece of the puzzle,” Svein Dyrkolbotn, owner of project developer SHD Development, said of the road in an interview before Thursday’s DRC meeting.

“We’ve got the parts and pieces and approvals in place, and when the timing is right, we’ll get started.”

He said SHD is studying the market demand for different types of residential and commercial units and working with architects and planners before coming back to the DRC with more detailed plans for the next phase of development.

“We’re hoping to get started on some type of construction this year,” he said.

Celebration Pointe was the first transit-oriented development the Alachua County Commission approved in November 2010 under new county policies that push for compact and walkable mixed-use developments linked by a bus rapid transit system. It replaces the road impact fee on new developments with a multimodal transportation fee to fund a portion of the transit service, and bicycle and pedestrian paths.

Under an agreement with the county, tax increment funding — the amount collected from the increase in property values — also will fund transit linking the development to the University of Florida and Shands.

The 1,700 feet of road and right of way approved Thursday includes four travel lanes, turn lanes, in-street bicycle lanes, an 8-foot-wide bicycle/pedestrian path and space for a future rapid transit lane. It also includes stormwater basins.

Bus lane construction is required before building the 1,400th residential unit or 650,000 square feet of commercial space.

The right of way cuts into properties for both the Oak Park Baptist Church to the south of Southwest 45th Street and The Reserve at Kanapaha apartments to the north.

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