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What will soon be built on the ‘fourth side of the square’
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A rendering of the new project planned for the fourth side of the Gainesville square. The project is being funded by Doug Ivester, who bought the property after the Parkside on the Square development fell through. Image courtesy Fred Roddy.

Downtown Gainesville could be getting a three-story mixed-use building as soon as early 2021, according to the developer of the “fourth side of the square.”

Doug Ivester, former chairman of Coca-Cola and a Gainesville native, purchased the half-acre lot facing Spring Street in June. The new development, called Gainesville Renaissance, will be developed by Fred Roddy, CEO of Roddy Properties.

Roddy said Gainesville is unique for its urban environment in a small town, and he hopes Gainesville Renaissance can be the “lightning in a bottle” for downtown.

The building will likely have two restaurants and eight or nine condominiums, as well as some office and retail space, Roddy said. A pocket park between the development and the Hall County Courthouse will serve as a gathering space outside.

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Fred Roddy talks on Wednesday, Sept. 18, about the new development coming to the fourth side of the square in Gainesville. The project is being funded by millionaire philanthropist and New Holland native Doug Ivester. - photo by Nick Bowman

Roddy said the project should break ground before the end of the year and take 14 or 15 months to build.

The project is designed to fit in with the rest of the square, which also has retail on the first floor of each side, Roddy said. 

Purchase prices for the condominiums, which will be about 2,000 square feet each, have not been finalized yet, Roddy said. But residents will be able to park on the third floor of the Main Street parking deck and cross a bridge over to Gainesville Renaissance. Roddy said it has not been decided yet how many parking spaces in the garage would need to be reserved for residents.

Gainesville-based Carroll Daniel Construction will serve as the general contractor, while Robertson Loia Roof from Alpharetta will be the architect.

Brian Daniel, president of Carroll Daniel, said the project will contribute to downtown growth.

“There have been many good things happening on the square recently, and we are honored to be a part of a project like this one that supports the City’s vision to enhance and develop the downtown district,” he said in a statement.

Carroll Daniel has a new building just off the square. Also, on Sept. 12, Gainesville officials announced that Atlanta developer Terwilliger Pappas had been selected to build 400 apartments, along with retail and restaurant space, on two properties in midtown Gainesville currently owned by the city.

Gainesville Renaissance is smaller than the proposed Parkside on the Square development, which had been planned for the fourth side of the square but fell through earlier this year. While Parkside was also mixed-use, it would have had five floors and 32 condominiums.

The developer and lender couldn’t come to terms to move forward on that project. The Gainesville Renaissance project will not rely on bank lending, Roddy said.

But he said he does hope the project will be able to participate in the city’s Midtown Tax Allocation District. 

The TAD funding would need to be approved by the Gainesville City Council, which previously approved funding for Parkside.

City Manager Bryan Lackey said Gainesville officials have long seen the fourth side of the square as “the epicenter of where revitalization of our community needed to happen.”

“From there, further redevelopment will radiate out from our downtown along both the Highlands to Islands Trail and our major corridors,” he said in a statement.

The Highlands to Islands Trail is a planned countywide trail network, with some portions, including the Midtown Greenway near the property, already constructed.

A dome on one side of the building will mirror architecture at Brenau University, Roddy said, and he hopes the development can benefit from cultural events at the Brenau Downtown Center.

The architect for the project said he was looking forward to seeing the development “complete the square.”

“The owners have challenged (Robertson Loia Roof) to not only enhance the historic feeling of the square, but to inspire the community to preserve the vibrant urban environment that is so important to the long-term future of Gainesville,” Duane Roof, vice president and lead design architect at the firm, said.