A new restaurant and event center in downtown Gainesville finally broke ground Friday, Oct. 1, after a long application process that saw opposition from the neighboring Arts Council and significant site plan changes to push the development over the finish line.
The development, located at the 1.7-acre site that previously held Engine 209 Park, will include a 15,000-square-foot concert and special event venue and share the site with a 9,000-square-foot Bourbon Brothers restaurant. The restaurant will have a 1,500-square-foot rooftop bar and an outdoor patio area. Developer B-Entertainment plans to hold 100 to 120 ticketed shows and an additional 100 events such as weddings, conventions, sporting events and proms, per year.
Its rezoning application was approved by the Gainesville City Council in August.
Representatives from B-Entertainment, City Council members, investors and officials from the development’s general contractor, Carroll Daniel, attended the ceremony.
B-Entertainment founder J. W. Roth said the mayor and council were a big help in allowing this development to happen.
“We’re going to be good neighbors,” Roth said. “We want to be part of the community, and we’re grateful that you have welcomed us here.”
The development was originally proposed in April and saw opposition from The Arts Council, a nonprofit organization that has an outdoor concert venue across Broad Street from the B-Entertainment site. Site plans changed before the final council vote to accommodate The Arts Council’s concerns and position the indoor concert venue farther away from the Arts Council’s stage. Roth said he liked the new design even better than the initial plan.
COO Robert Mudd agreed, saying that the new design allowed for more synergy between the restaurant and concert venue. They were also able to add a mezzanine level for the concert venue with the new design, Mudd said.
City Councilwoman Barbara Brooks said she was looking forward to seeing a different variety of restaurant downtown with this project.
The city will also benefit from the development with plans to sell the land to B-Entertainment for $800,000 in cash plus other benefits, including $250,000 to add public parking at Poultry Park next door and an agreement to use the venue for city-sponsored events 12 times per year.
The restaurant and concert venue is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.