Butler Plaza’s recent push for expansion has created some dust and brought in new vendors as it looks to transition into an upscale towncenter-style shopping center.
Businesses that have already moved into remodeled spaces as part of the project report they’re booming at the location.
At a meeting last May, the Gainesville City Commission approved plans to expand Butler Plaza to include more space for anchor stores and boutiques and more infrastructure such as sidewalks and parking.
Within the past year, Butler Plaza has brought in nine new tenants, a list that includes big-name clothing and food franchises as well as a licensed Apple repair store.
Meanwhile, it is using social media and even special events to promote the plaza’s brand and to attract new customers.
Jim Pagano, the franchise owner of the BurgerFi location that opened in the plaza in March, said the location seems to be helping the business grow.
“It’s an excellent location,” he said. “Probably everything we figured it would be, it is. Being in a new building close to the street on Archer, centrally located on Archer – all those key factors help us out a lot.”
For Jim Dufek, the owner of GatorTec, at 3600 SW Archer Road, being in the plaza has lent visibility and increased foot traffic.
Since he moved GatorTec to Archer Road, he said he’s seen the number of repairs done in-store triple. He said the location has been “definitely busier than expected.”
Even though construction projects, including adding more glass to the storefront, will obscure the entrance to the building for a few months, Dufek said he isn’t worried.
“When something new is being built, people usually turn their heads to look at what’s going on,” he said.
Pink Narcissus store manager Andrea Piorkowski said the clothing franchise needed space that was accessible, visible and close to its clientele, and Butler Plaza fit those needs.
“Our Butler Plaza location has really proven to work for us,” she wrote in an email.
“Butler has done a phenomenal job at improving the center through expansion and renovation,” she said. “I think this has really helped our business, and I am sure will make even more of a difference in the future.”
Jordan Levy, an owner of the Gainesville Yogurtology location, also noted that Butler Plaza’s efforts at marketing the center as a whole are generating more exposure for his business.
“They’ve done a really good job at marketing the center,” he said. “We are extremely happy with the location and the response we’ve gotten.”
For now, residents can expect to begin seeing the plaza’s new phase take shape, said Gerry Dedenbach, a director with development company Causseaux, Hewett, & Walpole Inc., which is handling the project.
He said plans for new infrastructure including roads, new water lines and sewer lines expanding the plaza west into a former mobile home park should be approved by the city by June.
“That’s the first thing that you’ll see out there – the construction of roadways and the clearing out of the old mobile home area,” he said.