A major bank and the developer of a large office and hotel complex have gone to court over rights to the property.
Regions Financial Corp. filed suit against Gainesville City Center LLC, contending it has a perpetual driveway easement through the City Center property. Regions has an operations center on land adjoining the site.
The easement was granted in 1984 when First National Bank of Gainesville purchased a 1.2 acre parcel that was part of Town View Plaza shopping center.
The deed included an easement granting the bank access from Bradford Street through the Town View parking lot.
Gainesville City Center, which acquired the Town View property, along with the current city of Gainesville public safety building, has razed the remaining portion of Town View shopping center and a group of retail buildings facing Bradford Street.
Regions’ only access to the property is via a small section of Green Street that runs between the public safety building and the Holiday Inn.
In its suit, Regions claims the previous owner conveyed "a non-exclusive, appurtenant and perpetual easement for ingress and egress over, under and across the paved parking areas and driveways."
The suit maintains First National and Regions, which acquired the bank in 1994, have used the driveways "openly, publicly, notoriously and peaceably."
The suit says that Gainesville City Center has demolished the buildings and pavement and has erected a fence to keep Regions from using the property.
Regions is seeking both a temporary and permanent injunction against Gainesville City Center requiring the easement to be honored.
Julius M. Hulsey, the Gainesville attorney representing Gainesville City Center, said his clients plan to vigorously defend their position that the easement is no longer valid.
"The lawsuit will delay the project, but my clients remain firmly committed to it," Hulsey said.
The local attorney representing Regions, Steve Gilliam, could not be reached Monday.
The planned project includes a 13-story, 250-room hotel and conference facility.
It would be linked to the Georgia Mountains Center via a pedestrian bridge over Jesse Jewell Parkway.