Update, June 9: The Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board recommended approval of the project at its meeting Tuesday, June 9. The matter now goes to the Gainesville City Council at a later meeting.
Previous story: Gainesville restaurateur Juan Luna is proposing to build 20 apartments near downtown Gainesville.
The owner of Luna’s Restaurant on the square is seeking Gainesville’s approval for the project, which would call for two new buildings — one with 16 units and the other with four — on Washington Street between West Avenue and John W. Morrow Jr. Parkway.
The development would span seven lots on Washington Street, with two existing rental homes being demolished, according to the city.
“I have visualized this (development) since I bought the first property 21, 22 years ago,” Luna said on Friday, June 5. “Gainesville-Hall County is growing. Just like we need to eat, we have to have a place to live, and I don’t think (the area’s) prosperity or growth can be stopped.”
The apartments would be built as two-story, 1,137-square-foot townhomes — each with two bedrooms and two baths.
Two driveways are proposed from Washington Street.
“The proposal will slightly increase ... traffic movements along Washington Street, which provides direct connection to downtown Gainesville from the Lakeshore Mall area,” a city document states.
The project is set to go before the Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board on Tuesday, June 9. The board can only recommend approval or denial. The final decision rests with the Gainesville City Council, which would hear the proposal at a later date.
City planning staff is recommending approval.
The city report says that Gainesville’s comprehensive plan “identifies the need for quality housing within the downtown area” and that Luna’s project “is conducive for residential purposes, as it is situated within an area that is walkable to office, retail, restaurant and public uses.
“Development along the Washington Street corridor has consisted of small specialty shops, professional offices, as well as multi-family residential and limited single-family residential.”
If the project is approved, Luna said he would like to start construction in the next 2-3 months. From there, completion may take place in 7-8 months.
Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board
What: proposed 20-unit apartment complex on
When: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 9
Where: Public Safety Complex, 701 Queen City Parkway