Celebration Pointe also plans to become a defining landmark in Gainesville’s commercial and residential scene. The $170 million project broke ground in April 2014 and is set to open in fall 2016.
Celebration Pointe hopes it will become the iconic mixed-use destination in the Gainesville-Ocala market. The project, located west of Interstate 75 and north of Archer Road, includes 1 million square feet of retail, dining, entertainment, lodging and office space.
Celebration Pointe is already bringing noteworthy, national names to Gainesville. New tenants include Bass Pro Shops, a super outdoor store; Hotel Indigo, an InterContinental Hotels Group brand; and a new campus for the Gainesville-based software and consulting company Info Tech.
The project features a transit-oriented design for entry and connections to the community. A new $12 million vehicular and pedestrian bridge will span across I-75, with rapid transit options. Celebration Pointe hopes this will create literal and figurative connections to downtown Gainesville, UF’s campus and the health care center.
Like the Butler Plaza expansion, it will be structured as a “town center” development where visitors can spend their day. Together, Celebration Pointe and Butler Plaza are intended to introduce a refreshing lifestyle element to Gainesville’s retail scene.
Overall, Gainesville is like a chemistry experiment, Glaeser said. “You bring the right components together and magical things happen.”
Consider the element of brainpower. Our booming education community brings world-renowned professors and researchers. Our top-notch health care centers bring medical minds from far and wide. Our new, broad innovation economy brings the minds that once gathered in Silicon Valley.
“Those like-minded individuals, no matter at what level, are here in Gainesville,” Glaeser said. “We’ve hit that critical point where we now can keep the brightest minds of the world here locally and have them contribute to our community and to our economy.”
Add in a positive city attitude and a welcoming business community that encourages those minds to build careers and companies. Combine that with a workforce from the GED to Ph.D. level that bolsters those companies. Factor in the growing regional draw to our retail sectors. Finally, package this all in a growing community where families can live, work and play.
With this promising mix of elements, Gainesville’s economy is surely poised for the next 20 years.