Celebration Pointe officials say project’s on track

Who else is looking forward to the opening of Bass Pro Shops this fall? This Gainesville Sun article provides an update on construction at Celebration Pointe.

eda is proud to be a part of the design team for the project.

from gainesville.com

The main roads will be done, lit and landscaped through Celebration Pointe — including the bridge over Interstate 75 — in time for Bass Pro Shops to open in early November, and more buildings will be under construction by then in the 125-acre development, according to Ralph Conti, a partner in the development.

The roads are 85 percent complete, including Southwest 45th Street — the main entrance from Archer Road, the bridge and a ring road around the development, said Conti, principal of Atlanta-based RaCo Real Estate.

The view from I-75 shows a nearly complete exterior Bass Pro building rising like an oasis in a field of dirt.

“Give us another 60, 70 days and the landscape that looks like a big desert will look a whole lot different,” Conti said. “Mother Nature just needs to work with us just a little bit.”

Bass Pro Shops has not announced an official opening date for the 82,000-square-foot anchor store, but a representative of Celebration Pointe developer Viking Companies previously said it would open Nov. 10.

Conti said Bass Pro’s parking lot will be ready.

“Also, we will have some overflow parking because we expect huge crowds coming into Bass Pro,” he said.

Bass Pro held a job fair Monday through Wednesday at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center and General Manager Michael O’Brien said at least 1,000 people a day showed up to apply.

“Each day we have been full from 8 in the morning to 7 at night,” he said.

The store will hire about 200 full-time and part-time employees, including seasonal workers for the holidays, and will normally have about 160, O’Brien said.

The store will conduct second interviews over the next couple weeks and start making offers after Labor Day.

O’Brien said they are mostly looking for people who are positive and outgoing, but some involvement in the outdoors and retail experience helps, too.

The bridge should be ready in early October and open to the public by the end of the month, Conti said.

The bridge lands at Southwest 30th Avenue to the east past a retention pond, bus transfer station and the new Wal-Mart Supercenter in Butler North, to Plaza Boulevard that connects to Southwest 24th Avenue.

The ring road around Celebration Pointe surrounds a future mixed-use area that will be barricaded off during its construction. Internal roads will be built within that area as each pod is developed, Conti said.

A road through the Reserve at Kanapaha apartments to a separate boat inventory area for Bass Pro along I-75 also will be open by the time of the store’s opening, but will not go all the way through to Southwest 43rd Street until late next summer when it opens as a second entrance off Archer Road.

Construction on a second office building at five stories and 75,000-square feet will start in September and open a year later with retail and service businesses on the ground floor. Conti said a lease is already signed but he can’t yet name names.

The 67,000-square-foot office building for software firm Info Tech is already under construction for a 2017 opening.

Construction is expected to start on the first phase of the mixed-use portion in October, including a 10-screen, 51,588-square-foot Regal Cinemas movie theater with king-size recliners, and 125 apartments over ground floor retail and restaurants, to open Nov. 1, 2017.

Also in October, two apartment buildings of four stories and 110 units each will start construction, with a third, 86-unit building planned for phase two of the development.

Construction on townhomes will start next year, with four to six units to a building for 110 total units that will be offered for sale.

The developers also are working on a shopping center called The Commons at Celebration Pointe fronting Archer Road at 43rd Street that will probably open fall 2018, Conti said. He said he is in talks with five or six different prospects and the project could have six to 10 retail stores, restaurants and other uses.

Construction of the 137-room Hotel Indigo is expected to start in early 2017 to open in early 2018.