As the walls came tumbling down on an old car wash at a prominent Gainesville intersection yesterday, Mike Weaver was watching.
The work Monday was the first tangible sign of progress on a redevelopment project Weaver, a local attorney, has been planning for months.
“It’s exciting,” Weaver said Monday. “It has been a lot of work to put this project together... I feel very fortunate to have a chance to build on that corner. That’s a very prominent piece of property, and I want to do something that will be a real addition to that intersection.”
Just last Tuesday, Weaver was the first to receive tax money slated for spurring redevelopment in Gainesville’s Midtown and downtown areas. The Gainesville City Council voted to award Weaver $71,000 from its special tax allocation district to help put the bells and whistles on what Weaver says is a nearly $3 million development at the corner of E.E. Butler and Jesse Jewell parkways.
The TAD money will help pay for the demolition of JG Carwash as well as landscaping, lighting and sidewalks at the new development.
When the council granted Weaver the money, he promised to start work immediately. Crews began disassembling parts of the old car wash last week.
The real dirty work started Monday as walls came down on the car wash. The demolition — all the way down to the dirt — should be complete in the next two weeks, Weaver said.
The local attorney says he plans to waste no time redeveloping the property, either.
“We’ll start building immediately,” he said.
In place of the car wash, Weaver plans to put an 11,500-square-foot, one-story brick office building.
Tipton Construction Co. will begin work on the building in mid-May. Construction is expected to last five or six months, Weaver said.
Initially, Weaver plans to use about 5,500 square feet of the new building for his law firm. The building, which Weaver calls “colonial style,” will allow him to expand his law firm from two attorneys to possibly five or six.
The other 6,000 square feet will either house one or two tenants. The building will have two separate entrances and a parking lot for more than 30 vehicles.
While the TAD funding isn’t a huge part of the overall project, Weaver said the tax dollars will help dress up the outside of the building a little more than he may have been able to do on his own. He will receive the money after the building is granted a certificate of occupancy.
“We’re not going to cut any corners,” he said.
If construction goes as planned, the Midtown Gainesville intersection will be transformed and Weaver will be moved into the new building by Thanksgiving, he said.
And maybe, just maybe, it will kick off more development in Gainesville’s redevelopment district.
“We’ve all been hunkered down for a few years in this economy and it’s nice to see that it looks like the time is right to move forward,” Weaver said. “Hopefully, this will spark some other people to move forward. I think that will be good for everybody."