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How 1,300 acres of city land could help Gainesville draw more businesses
The city of Gainesville wants to build a 1,300-acre business park off of Allen Creek Road and will work with the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce to recruit tenants. The city already owns the land.

The city of Gainesville hopes to build a 1,300-acre business park on Allen Creek Road near U.S. 129 using land the city has owned since 1990.

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, the city council will vote to start the application process for permits with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The city plans to work with the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce to recruit tenants for the business park, which according to current plans has been divided into 20 lots.

The property will be 1.6 miles from Interstate 985 and about 13 miles from Interstate 85.

The first tenant has already signed on — the city of Gainesville plans to use one of the lots for a new maintenance facility for the water resources and public works departments. That site will be used for equipment storage and fleet vehicle maintenance.

City Manager Bryan Lackey said there are five business parks within city limits that are starting to get full.

“It’s great to have all this activity in Gainesville with companies wanting to expand and companies coming in. … We don’t want to turn away people that are wanting to be in our community,” Lackey said.

Lackey said the project also will drive sewer expansion on the U.S. 129 corridor, where several large properties are undeveloped due to a lack of sewer access.

No timeline for the project has been determined, and the first steps are permitting and design, Lackey said. Construction will be done in phases, with lots being developed as businesses agree to move in.

The city purchased the land in 1990, when state and federal regulations required municipalities to use spray irrigation for sewer treatment plants. The land, which is next to the Allen Creek Soccer Complex, has been sitting empty, Lackey said.

The business park will have a trail connecting one end of the development to the soccer complex, going past a waterfall and winding through the business park and flood plain land. Lots will be developed around flood plains and ponds on the property.

Permits will be needed to comply with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which mandates that steps be taken to minimize impact to wetlands and streams. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issues those permits.

City spokeswoman Nikki Perry said costs for development of the business park have not been determined yet.

The site is in the ward of Councilwoman Barbara Brooks, who said on Thursday that she was anticipating the development.

“The south side of Gainesville needs this, and it’s going to be really important for this development to take place and attract other businesses to (U.S.) 129 and that corridor,” Brooks said. “That is where the action is going to be over the next 10 years.”