Shopping Center Business

MAY 2018

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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CELEBRATION POINTE 186 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2018 M omentum and excitement are building as Celebration Pointe takes shape in Gainesville, Flor- ida. The project comes to life a little more each day as new tenants open, business- es move into office space and construc- tion continues on residences, retail and restaurants. Even the infrastructure of this tran- sit-oriented development is something to see. The ingress and egress roads into Celebration Pointe are turning heads, es- pecially the destination's two four-lane main entrances — one off Archer Road and a brand new direct access east-west bridge spanning Interstate 75 — as well as the long awaited pedestrian-only activity center in the project's retail and restau- rant-dominated district, known as City Walk. "I've been asked, 'aren't you guys going a bit over the top with this, Ralph?'" says Ralph Conti, founder and managing prin- cipal of Atlanta-based RaCo Real Estate, LLC, a development partner in the proj- ect. "And yes, it may very well be a little over the top in some aspects, but what we're after is creating a true sense of place where people are going to want to spend time, be entertained, enjoy great food and drink, and generally a place they can be proud to call their own. We believe that to be successful in this new paradigm you simply have to create an environment that is not just purely shopping, not just purely entertainment and not just purely dining." Conti cites a new term that he heard recently about comparable developments that he believes captures the spirit of Cele- bration Pointe and that is: "Surban." The adjective is being used to describe some of the country's new, successful destinations that mimic the look and feel of urban streetscapes, but are located in suburbs. "I heard the term for the first time at a recent conference and it was used in the context of a place where people who want to live a little outside of the city, yet also want to enjoy the attributes of a true urban environment," says Conti. "I said to my- self, 'this is exactly what we are delivering at Celebration Pointe.'" A state-of-the-art Regal Cinemas and Bass Pro Shops anchor the project at each end. The 82,000-square-foot Bass Pro opened in 2016, and Regal opened its luxury 10-screen RPX cinema with a food and beverage program in April. The theater features what it calls "king size" reclining seats. The grand opening cele- bration, held April 8 to April 10, offered $3 movies, $3 popcorn and $3 soft drinks. Proceeds from the event went to March of Dimes Foundation North Central Flor- ida, Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida, and the Child Advocacy Center. Celebration Pointe is comprised of multiple components, all of which are still evolving as the project responds to demand. City Walk, Tech Park and The Promenade are the centerpieces. The pe- destrian-only Promenade area is home to the vast majority of Celebration Pointe's many first-to-market dining, entertain- ment, shopping, hospitality and residen- tial offerings, and it will serve as a venue for regular events throughout the year. Branded into various districts to further the urban feel, the project, situated at In- terstate 75 and Archer Road, connects to City Walk as well as the Archer Braid Trail, traversing one of the area's largest nature conservancies. One of the districts of the project, known as Tech Park, will mark comple- tion around September, when a 140-room Hotel Indigo opens. Tech Park is also framed by two multi-story Class A office buildings totaling approximately 130,000 square feet. "The office buildings are fully leased," says Conti. "One building is owned by Celebration Pointe Springs To Life Many new tenants and new buildings are beginning to flesh out the dynamic, 1 million- square-foot, 160-acre planned community and mixed-use development in Gainesville, Florida. Lynn Peisner A state-of-the-art 10-screen Regal Cinemas, which opened in April, anchors the entertainment at Celebration Pointe in Gainesville, Florida.

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