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City of Gainesville looks to buy property for downtown development parking
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Engine 209 Park sits at West Academy Street and Jesse Jewell Parkway across from Poultry Park. - photo by Scott Rogers

The city of Gainesville is moving to acquire property downtown for use as parking to go along with the $53 million multi-project, mixed-use development planned for the area.

Developers will pour $25 million to build 30,000 square feet of street-level retail and restaurant space with about 150 market-rate apartments for rent at Jesse Jewell Parkway and Maple Street.  

The purchase of a lot used by The Arts Council will help the city continue to address its concerns about the availability of parking as construction looms in 2018.

Last month, city officials said residents of the new condominium development planned for the “fourth side of the square” won’t be required to pay for reserved tenant parking at the public downtown parking deck

The city plans to expand the public parking deck by adding two floors.

Carroll Daniel Construction and Knight Commercial Real Estate will construct a $16 million project with 15,000 square feet of street-level retail and restaurants on the south side of the downtown square — dubbed Parkside on the Square — with condominiums for sale starting in the $300,000 price range.

And construction of a $12 million, 60,000-square-foot mixed-use development off Jesse Jewell Parkway and Main Street, anchored by Carroll Daniel’s new headquarters, could begin early next year.

City Council moved Tuesday night to allow city management to proceed with the purchase of The Arts Council lot for $300,000. 

"The City and Arts Council have also agreed to work cooperatively on a digital sign promoting events downtown," Assistant City Manager Angela Sheppard said. "The Arts Council will have dedicated use of 40 parking spaces on the property 12 times a year for (its) events."

In other business

In other business, City Council amended its personnel policies to include vaping in its no-smoking prohibition, as well as banning employees from carrying a weapon at work or on city property.

Council members postponed a vote on a proposal to hire a retirement benefit administrator in the human resources division with money from the general fund and retirement board.

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