Brasington site being redeveloped

A new Dollar General, nail and hair salons coming


Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 2:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 2:08 p.m.

The old Brasington Cadillac-Oldsmobile dealership across from Gainesville High School will be redeveloped to include a Dollar General and a strip center with nail and hair salons.

Demolition was expected to start this week on the property at 2001 NW 13th St., according to Beau Beery of Coldwell Banker Commercial M.M. Parrish Realtors, who represented the seller, Bluestone Lands of Houston.

The dealership included three parcels, two of which fronted 13th Street. The sale — completed in July — has not yet been recorded since the land will be divided into three parcels fronting 13th Street after demolition is complete, Beery said.

Concept Development of Gainesville, which develops Dollar General and other commercial projects, has pulled the demolition permit. Company officials could not be reached last Thursday for comment.

Concept Development bought what will be the middle parcel to develop the Dollar General, said Mike Ryals of Bosshardt Realty Services, who represented the buyers.

The south parcel on the corner of Northwest 13th Street and 19th Terrace, which includes the old Brasington showroom, was bought by Loan Bui, who plans to build a strip center of four or five stores next year. Bui said she currently works at a local nail salon and will open her own nail salon in the center, while a friend plans to open a hair salon.

Brasington closed in 2008 after 75 years in business. The family auto dealership moved to the 13th Street property in 1964. Since it closed, the property has housed used car dealerships on a temporary basis.

The Dollar General would be the sixth in Gainesville, all opening since 2008. Dollar stores have thrived in recent years as more consumers try to stretch their income and high-income consumers trade down in price.

Manufacturing

Local manufacturers joined forces last year to address issues of high energy costs, the need for skilled labor and how to grow the industry, forming the Advanced Manufacturing Association of North Central Florida.

Now they have enlisted the help of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce to give voice to those needs.

The chamber has pledged to bring its resources to bare for the association, helping with marketing, networking events, training programs, and public policy advocacy.

The chamber is looking at the partnership as a pilot project for how best to serve the needs of specific industries critical to the local economy, according to President and CEO Tim Giuliani.

The chamber already has a study group looking at energy issues, including rising utility rates that form a big part of manufacturers' costs.

The Gainesville City Commission is proposing to increase energy rates that would raise the cost for a 1,500-square-foot office from $222 a month to $250, according to Kamal Latham, vice president of public policy for the chamber.

"That is significant. You're talking about a 10 percent or so increase on businesses. That is a concern," said Latham during a meeting last Wednesday to discuss the partnership.

"We want to make sure the city is competitive."

The chamber and manufacturing association hosted the meeting at the Cade Museum Office on S. Main Street as part of a new Innovations in Manufacturing speaker series with about 60 people in attendance.

Brian Soucek, president of the association and also human resources manager for chemical manufacturer SiVance, said the grant could help companies such as SiVance that have trouble finding job candidates with the skills they need, but don't do enough hiring to put together their own training program.

"Manufacturers here can bring good-paying jobs and solid earning potential for all the employees of the area," Soucek said.

Susan Davenport, vice president of economic development for the Chamber, said they worked with 46 companies interested in moving to or expanding in Gainesville in August, and of those, 22 were in manufacturing with the potential of adding 1,000 jobs if every prospect came through.

Guest speaker Erik Sander, director of the University of Florida Engineering Innovation Institute, showed that manufacturing is making a comeback in the U.S. as the cost of labor rises in China. He said a Chinese worker makes 10 percent of a U.S. worker's wage while producing 10 percent of the U.S. worker's output due to inferior technology.

"That gives us an advantage to bring manufacturing back to the U.S.," he said.

Sander discussed new manufacturing technologies such as in nanotech and 3D printers.

"I think manufacturing is getting ready to enter a whole new golden age. It will look different than anything we've seen before," he said.

UF is trying to lure advanced manufacturing faculty as part of its program to become a pre-eminent university, Sander said. UF is also part of a consortium trying to land a digital manufacturing and design center of excellence.

Anthony Clark is the Gainesville Sun business editor.

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