Commercial park hopes to tap into rising market
Published: Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 4:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 4:00 p.m.
Commercial and industrial real estate are slowly, but steadily, recovering heading into 2014, enough so that 55th Place Partners has launched an industrial project that involves a newly designed commercial park for warehouses and offices.
Seven ready-to-use building pads are available for sale or lease at the NW 55th Place Commercial Park at 1610 NW 55th Place.
The project is led by Doug Wilcox, president of Scherer Construction, the construction company in charge of the project. He said buildings will be built on demand over five years.
Marty Wynkoop, Wilcox's business partner, said the project began under different owners in 2006, but was halted during the recession. One building was built, which is now occupied by The Masters Lawn Care company and a construction and renovation company.
Wynkoop said they acquired the property less than a year ago from a previous owner in Tallahassee. Wynkoop said he saw it as a good investment opportunity to meet commercial and industrial needs as they gradually rise in Gainesville.
"It's coming back, but it's coming back slow," he said. "But if you compare to a year ago, we're in a much better place right now."
There were 15 industrial sales by Realtors in 2013, according to a report by Coldwell Banker M.M. Parrish Realtors. That is a substantial increase from 2012, but if "you compare it to healthy market, it still has a ways to go," said Beau Beery, president of the commercial division.
He said there has been a rise in activity for buildings over 20,000 square-feet. Historically, buildings that size can sit on the market for years without any activity, but there are various players looking at Gainesville's four largest industrial buildings, Beery said.
Still, the most popular are the 1,000- to 2,000-square-foot properties, usually leased by small businesses.
Beery said he doesn't see Gainesville evolving into an industrial town, but he does see it becoming an excellent place for industrial real estate.
On the commercial side, there was a 12 percent to 13 percent vacancy rate for office space, according to Coldwell Banker's 2013 mid-year report. Lowering that rate to about 8 percent would be ideal, but that would be difficult to do within the next year although they're hoping to put a "heck of a dent in it," the report says.
Ovale USA, an e-cigarette company, is the park's newest tenant, leasing a 15,000-square-foot building.
Wynkoop said the park will cater to both industrial and commercial needs, opening doors for local startups and biotech companies.
Carla Vianna is a Gainesville Sun correspondent.