The City of Gainesville interacts with businesses and developers on an on-going basis to work towards mutual development goals. This includes everything from a light touch in assisting businesses with simple licensing, to assistance through the regulatory land development process, to the supplying of incentives and programs designed to stimulate development and retain, expand and attract industry to Gainesville.
The City also works with those in the community who are trying to build and/or enhance future economic development by assisting them in improving their skill set in order to increase their economic opportunities. Examples of some of our public/private partnerships that are benefitting the community are the building of the food business entrepreneurial community with Working Food, partnering with the Gainesville Entrepreneurship and Adversity Program through the University of Florida’s Warrington School, and working with Santa Fe Center for Innovation and Development staff on managing the Gainesville Technology Entrepreneurship Center (GTEC).
Gainesville’s economy is performing well, and capital is available to finance private projects citywide. The condition of the overall economy can positively or negatively affect the conditions for local economic development. Being a more business-\friendly and citizen-centered city are a couple of the city’s goals. This includes making the development process easier to navigate and to get approval, as well as the updating of the city’s building code and application processes for building facilities and creating businesses.
Another way we attract new business and development is through the city’s Enterprise Zone, which includes about 10 square miles within the city. This zone currently has a 50 percent reduction in development fees and the City Commission is considering expanding the zone’s geography, while including a greater package of incentives in line with those offered within the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) areas.
East Gainesville has seen a new housing development, Heartwood, and the redevelopment of the former GTEC facility into Cornerstone. These projects, headed by the city’s CRA, are leading the design of a commercial-focused, mixed-use development aiming to retain businesses that began at the Cornerstone incubator in East Gainesville and attract new businesses to the area. With the addition of the Heartwood residential neighborhood, this area of Gainesville will be a place where people can live, work and play within an easily walkable distance. This reflects the holistic redevelopment approach taken by the CRA for the transformation of the Eastside, including branding, business recruitment and physical development efforts.
Overall, the status of the local economy is excellent and ripe for entrepreneurial investment and business relocation to the area. The City of Gainesville continues to work with UF, Santa Fe College, non-profit organizations and private industry to grow an economy that provides support for industry, business and workers. Partnerships such as these, a strong economy, and innovative thinking place Gainesville in the enviable positon of being a “New American City.”