As 2015 progresses, I continue to speak to numerous groups about the opportunities and capabilities of this region to support new business, talent and innovation. While examples of this support are easily provided, it’s often nice to see a visible sign of the region’s progress in growing — more specifically, housing — the opportunities at hand. For the past six months, I have highlighted five or six of the new developments underway throughout our region, but I’d like to take an opportunity to highlight one of these that’s now very visible and be sure you’re staying abreast of what’s happening there. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

CELEBRATION POINTE, a development of approximately 375,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space with an additional 300,000 square feet of class-A office space, is progressing toward a phase one completion date in the fall of 2016. What I love to highlight about this new “live, work, play” development is that, in addition to Hotel Indigo, Bass Pro Shops, Regal Cinemas and many other entities not yet announced, this development will also be the future home of one of Gainesville’s strong corporate growth stories: Info Tech. Started by talent from the University of Florida in the 1970s, the company quickly grew to a workforce of over 200 employees and now develops construction management software while also delivering consulting services to better facilitate outcomes for the construction industry. It is a “Gainesville original” and is now a highly respected company throughout the United States and Canada.

“LIVE, WORK, PLAY” What Celebration Pointe’s new development provides to our area is an important facet of the Transforming Greater Gainesville strategy and goals. Having a highly desirable location for corporations and startups to call home is a key ingredient that cannot be underestimated. (The area is well connected to downtown Gainesville as well as the University of Florida and Shands through the new fourlane bridge spanning Interstate 75, making this project the region’s first transit-oriented development). I think Dr. Tom Rothrock, president of Info Tech, said it best when announcing the new location: “Info Tech has always prided itself on being an innovative and forward thinking company. When we were searching for our new headquarters, it was important to find a location with a true sense of innovation and community that aligned with our core values.” All in all, I think Info Tech found a great home; we owe a big thank you to Celebration Pointe and all of its team for facilitating job growth and new investment in greater Gainesville. To all the residents, business leaders and employees in our area: Take some time and drive around the city once in a while. There’s a lot happening — tell everyone you know.

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