GTEC plan nears completion

The Gainesville Technology Enterprise Center is well on its way to transforming into a new hub for innovation and commerce in East Gainesville. At a public meeting on April 16 in the current facility, located off of southeast Hawthorne Road, the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency provided a look at a 60 percent complete master plan and offered a tentative construction timetable.

The GTEC area consists of three parcels – almost 14 acres – owned by the city and managed by Santa Fe College. As an entrepreneur incubator, it houses several technology startup companies, including The Florida Tech Toybox, which is currently running a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo.

The vision for the area is that the current facility will be surrounded by developed park space and new office and retail buildings. GRU mandates that there must be a 150-foot easement surrounding power lines, so the current plan envisions a linear park surrounding lines on the southern edge and expanded parking surrounding lines running north-south through the eastern portion.

Existing wetland areas will be improved and a third retention basin is planned. Two new buildings along Hawthorne will increase GTEC’s streetfront presence and the plan is for GTEC to connect Hawthorne Road and Eighth Avenue through an extension of SE 21st Street.

The overall vision for the redevelopment is for the area to connect to surrounding schools and neighborhoods and offer retail to support employees and the community. CRA Project Manager Serit Sela said that the idea is that private developers will construct new buildings on city-provided infrastructure that GTEC graduates could move out of the incubator into with a cheaper rent than Innovation Square, though discussions about ownership and management haven’t taken place yet.

Sela said that the CRA hopes to have a 100 percent complete master plan by June and to begin construction in November.

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