GTEC plan includes park

A rendering of the master plan for the area surrounding the Gainesville Technology Enterprise Center on Hawthorne Road. (Special to the Guardian)

Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 1:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 1:52 p.m.

The Community Redevelopment Agency unveiled the proposed Gainesville Technology Enterprise Center master plan consisting of a family-friendly environment with parks, ponds, outdoor cafes and retail and business opportunities.

The plan is to create a place where residents want to go, not only for business, but also to enjoy family time together.

The nearly 25 people attending the GTEC workshop had an opportunity to see plans for the proposed 13.6-acre development and to offer comments. The workshop was held last Thursday at GTEC on SE Hawthorne Road. On Feb. 1, the Santa Fe College Center for Innovation and Economic Development, or CIED, took over management of GTEC, a high-tech business incubator established in 2001.

Gainesville city Commissioner Yvonne Hinson-Rawls was pleased with the design.

"This is a great time for east Gainesville," Hinson-Rawls said. "It's a beautiful layout. Absolutely gorgeous."

Sarit Sela, senior project manager at the CRA, said GTEC is located in a stable neighborhood with lots of natural resources and a great location that is two miles from downtown, three miles to the University of Florida and five miles to the airport, with connectivity to the former Kennedy Homes site, schools and churches.

Sela said the GTEC building has 30,000 square-feet and the proposed development has a potential for 100,000 square-feet for a total development area of 130,000-square-feet.

The plan calls for two ponds and 102 parking spaces that will be expanded by using part of the 150-feet-wide GRU powerline easement on the property. "The (GTEC) property provides great opportunity for development," Sela said, "and to become the east gateway to Gainesville."

Sela said a second workshop to discuss the master plan and get feedback will be held sometime in April. In June, the master plan would be completed and ready for permits for the full design in October and to start construction in November.

Sela said the goal is to plan the former Kennedy Homes site and the GTEC development together and to have connectivity by using such things as a linear park and bike trail.

She said the plan includes reshaping ponds on the property to receive storm water.

"The pond would be the heart of the development," said Sela, who also discussed design goals, including:

* Enhancing the GTEC facility and adding common areas and retail development.

* Connecting to the existing street network, which includes SE 8th Avenue, SE 20th Street, SE 21st Street and SE Hawthorne Road..

* Tapping into existing natural resources, such as ponds and weltands on the property, and parks in the area, such as Morningside Nature Park, and other parks.

* Enhancing connectivity to the former Kennedy Homes site, churches and schools in the area.

Jay Brown, president of JBRown Professional Engineering Group in northwest Gainesville, said requests for proposals will be going out soon. He said there is an availability to develop buildings that would range in size from 6,000- to 13,000-square-feet to provide variety.

Residents offered suggestions for the GTEC development, including:

* Tech-based magnet schools

* Medical facilities

* Parks

* Restaurants

* An entrepreneurship partnership with the Professional Academies @ Loften High School.

"People can come here to live, work and play," Sela said. "It could be a renaissance for the area."

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top