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Area projects dodge damage from storm
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Lamar Etris, superintendent of construction for Scroggs & Grizzel Contracting, said the $1.5 million project to expand and renovate the Senior Life Center in Gainesvilles was spared damage by this week's stormy weather. - photo by Carlos Galarza

Rain and gusty winds that whipped through the area earlier in the week failed to deliver any damaging blows to high-profile projects in Gainesville or put a dent on their construction schedule.

The first phase of a project to bring affordable apartments to midtown Gainesville suffered no damage and remains on track to be completed in early spring 2018, according to Matt Teague, development director for Walton Communities.

“Fortunately, we did not have any damage, we’re in good shape,” Teague said Wednesday, after visiting the construction site. “Fortunately, there were no trees in the area and we had secured all of our construction material ahead of time and nothing was blown around. We got a lot of rain, but that’s common at that site. We were very fortunate not to incur any damage.”

Still in the framing phase, the apartments rising on Atlanta Street are a partnership between the Gainesville Housing Authority and Walton Communities.

Phase 1 of of the project will produce 84 mostly low-income apartments, and construction on phase 2, which will add 90 apartments for seniors, is scheduled to begin this month, according to Teague.

Another midtown project, 45 townhomes being developed by Steve McKibbon and Robbie Robison on a four-acre tract bordered by Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Davis, Pine and Willis streets, also escaped harm.

John Vardeman, a spokesman for the developers, said a combination of good fortune and planning helped them dodge the bullet.

“We feel very fortunate that the Enclave received no damage this week from Monday’s big storm,” Vardeman said. “We took several preparatory measures prior to the storm such as cleaning up debris on the construction site, reinforcing our silt fences and even adding extra ones.”

Despite two lost days of work this week, Vardeman said the contractor — Matt Bell of Beltan Properties — has the project ahead of schedule and on track to be completed by early November.

Construction workers were back at Prior Street Wednesday to continue on a $1.5 million expansion and renovation of the Senior Life Center.

Lamar Etris, construction superintendent for Scroggs & Grizzel Contracting, said that except for some wind-blown rain that soaked a few areas, the site got no damage from the storm.

“We’re still pretty much on schedule,” Etris said. “Once the roof is on, it’ll go fast.”

Etris expects the improved senior center to be completed by the end of January.

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