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Gainesville to pay for pedestrian bridge if Midtown hotel is built
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If developers deliver on a promise to build a 250-room hotel in Gainesville’s Midtown, the city will put $3 million toward a bridge that will connect pedestrians leaving the hotel to the Georgia Mountains Center.

The Gainesville City Council agreed Tuesday to reimburse developers no more than $3 million for the construction of the bridge, which will allow pedestrians to walk from the Gainesville City Center hotel and office complex to the Georgia Mountains Center.

The agreement requires the city to reimburse the developers, Gainesville City Center LLC, as long as the developers eventually build a hotel on the site of the current police and fire stations on Jesse Jewell Parkway.

The city will not be able to move out of its police and fire station on Jesse Jewell Parkway until June 2010, but the property’s developers would like to start marketing the property for possible hotel purchasers, Gainesville City Manager Bryan Shuler said.

Developers have told city officials that they plan to build the bridge before the hotel, because it could make the site more attractive to buyers who are looking to build a convention center hotel, Shuler said.

The City Council voted Tuesday to approve an agreement that would require the city to pay $3 million for the construction of the pedestrian bridge and obligating the city to reimburse Gainesville City Center for its construction even if the city finds another developer to complete the Midtown development.

Before starting construction, designs of the bridge will have to be approved by the state Department of Transportation.