Greater Gainesville is in the midst of a boom from a commercial real estate standpoint. Everywhere you look, there are new restaurants, shopping centers, mixed-use projects, office buildings and multifamily housing projects popping up.
Here are four big ideas you need to understand about Greater Gainesville’s commercial real estate market.
The Greater Gainesville region is the center of employment, shopping and medical services for a population of nearly one million people. The area boasts several large employers like the University of Florida, UF Health Shands, Santa Fe College and the VA as well as several large private companies that are the leading employers in not only Alachua County but also in every county that surrounds it. Because of this, Gainesville has a small-town feel with big city options for shopping, dining, entertainment, arts and employment opportunities. New mixed-use projects like Celebration Pointe will not only feature office space but also retail and anchors like Bass Pro Shops and a Regal Theatres luxury cinema. Projects of this scale typically draw from a 60- to 100-mile radius.
Due to the presence of several large and stable employment centers, the Greater Gainesville region has enjoyed greater overall stability than many other parts of Florida. Our region fared better than most during the recession and has emerged more rapidly to expand in recent years. The University of Florida is an $800-million-a-year research engine that provides the backbone of our local economy to create jobs, new companies, and entrepreneurial opportunities in areas such as advanced manufacturing, life sciences, software development and information technologies. There are several submarkets offering unique options for office space depending on a company’s needs. Some examples are Innovation Square, which offers office space for high-tech companies in proximity to UF, and Progress Park in the city of Alachua, which offers lab space suiting the needs of companies in the biomed sector.
Although our region has experienced near full employment and very low vacancy, the occupancy costs in Greater Gainesville for businesses in all sectors is very affordable relative to other regions in the State of Florida. This affordability index as well as the distinction of having the most educated workforce in the state has made the Greater Gainesville area a top choice for companies seeking to expand within the region or relocate to the area. The cost of living is important to the employment base as well. More than ever before, UF and Santa Fe graduates are seeking employment opportunities in Greater Gainesville, and the companies here are eager to hire this well trained workforce.
The Greater Gainesville region’s location on Interstate 75 as well as proximity to the Florida Turnpike and Interstate 10 make our region a perfect choice from a distribution and manufacturing standpoint. For other businesses, our central region offers the advantage of being less than two hours from every major market in Florida except for South Florida. Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and Tallahassee are all an easy drive and place Greater Gainesville at the center of the Central Florida and North Central Florida regions. Gainesville’s airport is always a convenient option, but having three other major airports to choose from in under two hours of driving time is an advantage that few business travelers have in other areas.
As you can see, our region has a lot to offer. “I am excited to see what the next several years have in store for our Greater Gainesville region as word continues to spread about all the qualities this area has to offer,” said Nick Banks, owner of Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group.