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This agreement between square developers, city officials could fund downtown project and park
Gainesville Renaissance
The Gainesville Renaissance project is designed to have 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the ground floor, 15,000 square feet of office space on the second floor and eight condominiums on the third floor. Brenau's psychology department is being elevated to a named school and will move into offices in the building.

The development on the “fourth side of the square” in Gainesville could be getting $2.95 million in tax allocation district funding, if the Gainesville City Council approves it Jan. 7.

The funding was approved by the city’s TAD committee Friday, and the council will have the final vote.

Gainesville Renaissance, set to break ground in spring 2020, will have 15,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space on the first floor, 15,000 square feet of office space on the second floor and eight condominiums on the third floor. The $22.4 million project is due to be finished around August 2021.

The development is a collaboration between developer Fred Roddy, Doug Ivester and The Melvin Douglas and Victoria Kay Ivester Foundation. Ivester is from the New Holland area of Gainesville and is a former Coca-Cola chairman. 

Roddy had requested about $3.35 million in TAD funding from the city at a Dec. 3 TAD committee meeting, but the committee decided to table the request to have more time to consider it. City staff had first recommended that the full request be approved, but after discussion with developers decided to offer $2.95 million in funding and some assistance with building a “pocket park” at the development.

Under the agreement, the city and the developers will each be responsible for paying at least $150,000 toward the pocket park, which will be a small gathering space between Gainesville Renaissance and the Hall County Courthouse, leading from the downtown square to Roosevelt Square. If the park ends up costing more than $300,000 to build, the city will make up the difference. The city will also have final approval over the pocket park design.

Roddy said at Friday’s meeting that the budget for the pocket park has not been finalized.

“We want it to be first-class through there and something that everybody is happy with and the city is happy with,” Roddy said.

The $2.95 million in TAD funding would be paid over a 13-year period, beginning when the certificate of occupancy for the building is issued.

Tax allocation districts allow developers and property owners to use property tax payments toward improvements on a property. Participating properties are taxed at the rate established in the TAD’s base year, which is 2006 for Gainesville’s midtown TAD that includes the square. 

As the value of that property increases, what would normally be a higher amount paid in property taxes goes into the TAD fund for an agreed upon period of time. Developers apply to participate and if approved can use increments from the fund for property improvements, usually over a period of three to 15 years, depending on the size of the investment.