The Celebration Begins
As the structures rise and businesses like Bass Pro Shop open, the excitement surrounding Celebration Pointe builds.
Traveling on I-75 just north of Archer Road, you’ve probably noticed the massive open area inhabited by construction crews and bulldozers pushing mounds of dirt. Now with a brand new Bass Pro Shop, a new bridge connecting the east and west sides of I-75 and the development of the 60,000 square foot headquarters of Info Tech, everyone in Gainesville can see what Celebration Pointe is beginning to look like. It’s a vision that started with just one person.
“We didn’t want to just bring another shopping district to Gainesville. We wanted a true destination where people can enjoy a night out, shopping, go to work, or even call home,” said Svein Dyrkolbotn of Celebration Pointe Development Partners.
The expansive project will feature retail, entertainment, housing and office space, as well as a unique transportation-oriented feature: a new bridge over I-75 connecting Celebration Pointe to the eastern side of I-75. In order to aid regional congestion in this fast-growing area, several years ago Alachua County developed and approved new policies encouraging compact and walkable mixed-use developments to link with public transportation. In keeping with this policy, the new bridge and main road to Celebration Pointe will feature a dedicated bus lane.
Celebration Pointe, the first such transit-oriented project, was approved in November 2010 and has been dubbed a turning point for regional community development by county and city officials. Celebration Pointe will bring hundreds of new jobs to the region over the next five years and create a community epicenter to be enjoyed for decades to come.
The vision for the Celebration Pointe is a unique blend of residential offerings, entertainment venues, retail outlets, specialty shops, dining, and hospitality and office space in a picturesque setting that maximizes smart spaces and accessibility. Anchor tenants include Bass Pro Shops, which celebrated its grand opening November 9th, luxury–seating Regal Cinemas set to open in the fall of 2017, a 137-room Hotel Indigo and the new 60,000 sq. ft. headquarters of Info Tech.
According to the developer, the project is on track and running on schedule. Ralph Conti, of Celebration Pointe Development Partners said, “Celebration Pointe has not only been designed to be a retail, entertainment and office destination, but it is also planned to support a true and vibrant live-work-play environment for the local community.”
The transit-oriented development strategies featured at Celebration Pointe offer an exciting, upward trend designed to create livable and sustainable communities. According to the Transit Oriented Development Institute, this new concept in development is all about combining regional planning, city revitalization, suburban renewal and walkable neighborhoods to increase overall quality of life. Some of the benefits of transit-oriented developments include an enhanced urban style of living, a focus on pedestrians, healthier lifestyles and more stable property values.
Making the Connection
According to the Alachua County’s Growth Management Department, Celebration Pointe’s focus on walkability and transportation accessibility will enable the county to provide more efficient services at lower costs, with higher revenue per acre, Accessibility has been accomplished in large part by the construction of the new SW 30th Road bridge (Celebration Pointe Avenue) crossing I-75 and connecting Celebration Pointe to the eastern side of I-75.
After much anticipation, the Celebration Pointe Bridge opened for drivers and pedestrians on November 5th. In celebration of the bridge opening, the Celebration Pointe Bridge Walk and Fall Festival Fundraiser was held benefiting the Child Advocacy Center of Gainesville. This culminating event marked the first of what will likely be many more community celebrations held at the local venue over the next several years as Celebration Pointe nears completion.
For Work and Play
In addition to almost one million square feet of retail, restaurant, entertainment and office components, Celebration Pointe, will eventually offer nearly 1,000 luxury residences including garden-style homes, flats, townhomes, independent living dwellings, and for travelers, nearly 400 hotel rooms will be available.
Well defined pedestrian areas, pocket parks and the centrally-located Tech Park Plaza will provide community common spaces featuring art, outdoor seating and play areas. Everything about Celebration Pointe has been designed to maximize the guest and resident experience, including walkability and sustainability. Wide sidewalks will be lushly landscaped and plentiful parking will promote a safe and harmonious interaction between pedestrians and vehicles. Buildings and facilities have fully incorporated sustainable construction and features.
“We want all guests and residents to find Celebration Pointe convenient, fun, safe and perhaps most importantly, to make their experience here memorable,” Conti explained. “In order to do this, we have taken the utmost care to plan a balanced community that encourages a blend of efficiency and sound fundamentals.”
This development will meet the needs of shoppers, students, young professionals, families, empty-nesters and retirees alike. Whether people desire a live-work residence, flex office space, child play areas, easy access to bike trails, a quality shopping experience, premier dining, live music or day spa services, they will find it at Celebration Pointe. For nature enthusiasts, the Hogtown Creek Greenway and Lake Kanapaha are close by, and Celebration Pointe directly connects via pathways to the Archer Braid Trail.
Everything about Celebration Pointe, from its careful community planning and execution to choosing a highly experienced on-site management and leasing team, has been designed for long-term growth and economic benefits for the area. The Innovation Hub at University of Florida has a goal to add 6,000 new jobs to the region over the next five years. To reach that goal of 6,000 new jobs, development such as Celebration Pointe will create momentum and ultimately house businesses providing these jobs.
Executives and area officials also hope that Celebration Pointe can serve as a broader example of development and communities working hand in hand. “This is about more than simply providing new shopping, dining and living options,” Conti said. “This is about smart planning and growth, and helping streamline and simplify development for the future.”