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A breakdown of the 3 major construction projects underway in downtown Gainesville
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A concrete block shaft rises above College Avenue Friday, March 26, 2021, as another elevator shaft is constructed for the Solis Gainesville mixed-use development. - photo by Scott Rogers

The chattering of construction crews and the clanking and plundering of high-beams and hammers have become a usual soundtrack in downtown Gainesville.

There are three major construction projects either in progress or scheduled for 202, and Gainesville's Planning Director Rusty Ligon told The Times that when completed, the various projects should meet a decade-long need for residential spaces downtown. There are also two government projects adding parking and improving streets in the area. 

“When we started planning efforts for our Master Plan in 2015, the No. 1 need that residents expressed was residential units and spaces downtown,” Ligon said. “It’s accurate to say it’s been a need that’s been prevalent for about a decade.”

Two ongoing projects done through private contracting are underway, with a third project set for groundbreaking in early-May. 

Solis Gainesville

The biggest chunk of residential space will come from the Solis Gainesville project that includes three buildings totaling 220 apartments and 10,000 square feet of space reserved for future restaurants and retail tenants.

The project is in its first phase of development, and Ligon said the second phase of the project will take place at the former Hall County Jail site, a 4-acre lot at midtown’s Parker and Main streets that includes 180 multi-use family units.

The estimated completion date for the project is April 2022

Gainesville Renaissance

A second project, Gainesville Renaissance, broke ground on the Spring Street side of Gainesville’s downtown square in September, and construction has continued since. 

This three-story, $22.4 million mixed-use development is set for completion in February 2022.

It will have eight condominium units on the third floor. The first floor includes six spaces, with two reserved for restaurants, and the second floor will be home to Brenau University’s  Lynn J. Darby School of Psychology and Adolescent Counseling. 

Additionally, a small park will run between Renaissance and the Hall County Courthouse, connecting to Roosevelt Square. An art gallery on the first floor will be another partnership with Brenau.

The National
The third downtown project is a $50 million redevelopment project located on the block of the old Regions Bank, which will see the construction of a seven-story, 130-unit Courtyard by Marriott hotel dubbed The National.
Ligon said the project, a four-building development including 107 multi-family units, has a groundbreaking date set for mid-year 2021 with completion by December 2022.
The original plan was to convert the former 1st National Bank of Gainesville site into a 50-room hotel and space for meeting spaces and single-bedroom suites.”

The current plan in place is to locate the hotel next to the bank and there will be four floors of rental space above the bank’s ground floor lobby, catered toward graduate students and young professionals who seek to live downtown.

The ground floor lobby of the bank will be converted into a meeting flexible space that can be divided into two separate rooms or a larger meeting room that can hold nearly 200 people.
The third building will feature a five-story, 50-luxury apartment setup, with a two-story parking deck. The Residences at The National will include 10 living units per floor with five one-bedroom and 45 two-bedroom apartments
Included in The National’s development plan is a 30,000-square-foot building designed for high-tech conference rooms, business gatherings, and a private dining club that will be located at the corner of Washington and Green streets.
“It’s a great and busy time for development in downtown Gainesville and it’s exciting to see what our downtown will look like in 2022,” Ligon said. “Central to these developments is the addition of not only retail spaces, but the mass amount of residential availability as well.”

Plus parking and streetscaping
The city is also working on two projects of its own in 2021: streetscaping and a new parking deck. 

A streetscaping project is in progress alongside the streets of Washington, Bradford and Spring. This project included the relocation of overhead utilities on Green Street, work on sanitary sewer, storm drains and sidewalks along Green Street between Spring and Washington streets and Washington Street between E.E. Butler Parkway and Green Street with the earliest completion date set for mid-2021, weather permitting.
“We appreciate the patience from both our pedestrians and motorists as we make the streets as open and safe for traveling,” he said. “When this is all completed, it will be a great benefit for people traveling downtown.”
The second city project includes the addition of a seven-level parking deck accommodating 400 cars by the Hall County Public Library.
In December, Gainesville City Council approved an agreement with Hall County to build and co-fund the project.
Ligon said that demolition is planned this spring at the former site of the Turner, Wood and Smith building at 100 Brenau Ave.

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Green Street SE is closed as work continues Wednesday, March 17, 2021, outside the former Regions Bank building in downtown Gainesville. - photo by Scott Rogers
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