Innovate June 2016

Power District Vision Coming to Life


Written By: Nathalie McCrate

After years of community engagement and advanced technical studies, the City of Gainesville is seeking partners to redevelop 17 acres of vacant, former industrial land in southeast Gainesville.

A request for qualifications was issued in April by Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) and the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). The property is located along the north side of Southeast Depot Avenue, adjacent to GRU’s Kelly Generating Station (power plant) and Depot Park.

Power District redevelopment goals include: attracting private investment into the area while maintaining community vision and encouraging economic growth; creating a distinctive “sense of place” by creatively celebrating the industrial character of the area by way of architecture, urban design, engineering, and place-making; and daylighting Sweetwater Branch Creek and activating public spaces.

Through this process, the City of Gainesville is seeking Statements of Qualifications from experienced developers and development teams. The primary purpose of this process is to pre-qualify private sector partners interested in transforming a series of underutilized parcels into an active, eclectic, pedestrian friendly and economically sustainable district. Based on the results of this RFQ process, the CRA anticipates announcing subsequent RFPs (request for proposals) that will trigger initial phases of redevelopment.

Proposals are due Thursday, June 9 at 2 p.m. (EST), and qualified applicants will be selected at the end of June 2016.

In 2013, the CRA, acting as an agent for GRU and the City of Gainesville, led the formation of a stakeholder-based Power District Redevelopment Plan. The plan focused on laying out a strategic redevelopment vision that will serve as a platform for economic growth while also improving the quality of life in the Power District and surrounding neighborhoods.

Companies and businesses interested in locating to the Power District should contact Tabetha Getz, director of Innovation Gainesville, at the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce at 352-334-7133 or [email protected] to be included in a directory of potential tenants that will be shared with potential developer respondents to the RFQ.

Visit www.gru.com/powerdistrict to view the full RFQ and information about the Power District. Visit www.gainesvillecra.com/downtown_project22.php to view the 2013 Power District Redevelopment Plan and technical studies.

 

Sidebar:

Depot Park Earns $60,000 Capital City Bank Grant for Adventure Play Area

Families will enjoy some much needed shelter from the hot Florida sun when the Depot Park play area opens this summer, thanks to the support of a local bank. Financial services firm Capital City Bank recently committed $60,000 toward adding a sunshade structure next to the future downtown central park’s splash pad and play area.

Currently under construction by the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), Depot Park will feature a football field-sized children’s play area with a custom Sweetwater Creek-themed splash pad; a water’s edge promenade designed to host food truck rallies, art galleries, festivals, and other special events; outdoor grills and picnic pavilions; dramatic entry features; and more.

“At Capital City Bank, we are committed to supporting causes that enhance the quality of life enjoyed in our communities,” said Chairman, President and CEO of Capital City Bank William G. Smith Jr. “Our company was founded on the values of community pride and loyalty, and community involvement has been a part of our tradition for more than 120 years. Our associates don’t just work in our communities. We also live here. We raise our families here, so we have a deep personal interest in what happens here. We are proud to have been the first private investor to step forward and contribute to the Depot Park project.”

The funding announcement was made during the Capital City Bank Annual Shareowners’ Meeting in April.

“We are deeply honored to have been selected for the Capital City community grant,” said interim CRA Director Sarah Vidal-Finn. “Depot Park will be a major destination for families all over the North Central Florida region when it opens in just a few months. This grant will significantly improve the experiences of parents and children enjoying the park.”

The Depot Park grant was awarded through the Capital City Bank Group Foundation, a nonprofit organization created in 1983 by Capital City Bank Group that provides grants to nonprofit, charitable organizations and institutions exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Through an annual grant process, Capital City Bank helps community organizations fulfill their missions and enhance the lives of local citizens.

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