Alachua County continues growing. The City of Newberry expects at least 300 new residents every year, tourism numbers for the county will hit new highs this year and residents in High Springs deal with the potential of 2,000 residential units that could begin development.
Local, state and federal governments along with private entities will hit milestones on major projects in the coming six months. Here’s a roundup of five of those projects, which Mainstreet will cover in more detail in the coming months.
- Opening of the Westgate Publix:
At the corner of SW 34th Street and Newberry Road, Publix tore down the old building in fall 2021 and started construction of the new store with a new orientation.
Now facing University Ave., the Westgate Publix opened last Thursday. The plaza will also feature several standalone buildings to house other stores.
- FDOT to install University Avenue stoplights
Following several pedestrian deaths along University Avenue, local and state leaders have pushed for changes. Downtown drivers have grown accustomed to the speed tables added in spring 2021, and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) plans to erect two new traffic signals.
The signals will come this fall, located within a half mile of each other at NW 19th Street, between the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and University Lutheran Church, and at NW 16th Street, beside the Baptist Student Center.
FDOT officials along with UF President Kent Fuchs promoted pedestrian and driver awareness at the start of the academic year.
- Alachua County’s Sportsplex to spring to life
In May, Alachua County held a topping off ceremony for its sportsplex, and officials said the building should finish by the end of the year.
Alachua County hopes to start using the facility as early as January and expects the sportsplex to draw in millions of revenue dollars from sports tourism. The county invested $30 million into the facility with the funds coming from its tourism tax.
In the works for over a decade, the 120,000-square-foot complex will house 13 basketball courts, 26 volleyball courts, NCAA track and field and other sports.
- Hyatt Place in downtown Gainesville opens bookings
After months of construction, the Hyatt Place has opened its booking system for stays starting Sept. 8.
Located in the heart of downtown and right next to the Hippodrome Theatre, the new hotel adds another property to Alachua County’s 64 overnight stay locations with a 74% occupancy rate earlier this year.
5. New VA facility to launch
The North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System will open two new facilities just south of the SW 34th Street and SW Williston Road intersection in the coming months.
The VA held a beam signing ceremony November 2021 and expects to open the mental health center this November followed by the primary care center in 2023, according to The Gainesville Sun. The facilities’ costs will cap at just under $14 million and will house parking for 800.