UF Health’s two new hospitals may bring more businesses to southwest Gainesville

In case you missed this recent article in The Gainesville Sun, please see below. The expansion of the UF Health hospital system is helping spur economic development in the SW 13th Street Corridor. Two recent eda projects in this area are mentioned in the article – Arbours at Tumblin Creek and Home2 Suites by Hilton. Quality redevelopment will continue in this area supporting the revitalization of this gateway to the City of Gainesville.

With the UF Health Heart & Vascular and UF Health Neuromedicine hospitals now open for business, people from across the country will visit the hospitals for services and with them may come more businesses and redevelopment to southwest Gainesville and surrounding areas.

Patients of UF Health Shands will be transported to their new rooms at the recently completed UF Health Heart & Vascular and UF Health Neuromedicine hospitals Sunday.

With the hospitals now open for business, people with heart problems or neurological issues from across the country will visit the Gainesville hospitals for their services and with them may come more businesses and redevelopment to southwest Gainesville and surrounding areas.

The area where the hospitals were built in southwest Gainesville, near Southwest Archer Road and Southwest 13th Street, was identified as a potential growth and redevelopment precinct in the University of Florida’s 50-year Strategic Development plan, said UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes in an email.

“It’s a big plan but UF Health is a key piece of that,” Sikes wrote. ”… The plan prepares UF and the surrounding community for the future by identifying optimal initiatives related to growth, intensity and density, economic viability, and livability in a framework for the University and host community to come together to achieve preeminence.”

The plan was developed by university, city and county leaders along with a consultant team, which embarked on a nine-month study in 2016 to posit transformative ideas that would drive UF and its host community’s mission for the next five decades.

Sikes said in an economy that is driven by talent, the plan’s goal is to provide infrastructure, resources and the environment needed for companies and institutions to attract, retain and nurture talent.

Erik Bredfeldt, Gainesville Economic Development and Innovation director, said Gainesville’s economy would be impacted by the hospitals’ opening but didn’t know for sure in what ways it would help the most.

Recent housing developments in southwest Gainesville, along with the new hospitals, will “certainly have some spinoff effects,” he said, drawing more service industry type companies to the area.

Bredfeldt said the hospitals will bring more people into the area with its new employees and patients, who will most likely bring family with them. A larger population makes the area a more attractive landing spot for service-based companies.

“Those people all need services, and at some point, someone is going to find out about them and fill those needs,” he said. “It will definitely have a multiplier effect on that area.”

Bredfelt added the compactness of hospitals in the area and new housing developments on the way have the potential to help get the right people together to foster new ideas for medicine and companies.

“It’s forcing collision among people and the community and their intellectual creative juices,” he said.

The new jobs in Gainesville will also put more money back into its businesses, Bredfeldt said.

Southwest Gainesville has quickly become a focal point for Gainesville’s local economy, with Butler North, Butler West and the in-development Butler Plaza Central and Town Center quickly taking over as a one-stop-hub for all things retail and food.

Even Southwest 13th Street, once seen as as hotel strip known for its tacky signs and residents’ disregard for the law, has slowly started showing some life and redevelopment over the last decade, including bringing better hotels to the area.

The longtime Gainesville Bambi Motel was demolished and replaced by a five-story Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel in 2014.

In 2015, Paramount Plaza Hotel was bought and rebranded by the larger Wyndham chain.

The area’s newest development, Arbours at Tumlin Creek, an apartment complex for a 55-plus community, is being built virtually across the street from the hospitals.

It’s unclear whether the Arbours’ developer chose to put the complex on Southwest 13th Street because of its close proximity to the hospitals. Calls to Arbour Valley Management went unreturned as of press time.

Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Alyssa Brown said the chamber is excited for the hospital to open up, as it has potential to attract more people and business to Gainesville.

“It’s creating economic activity and new jobs, and it shows capital investment into the area because they had to build it,” Brown said. “But we’re always happy to see any enterprise open because it adds to the market for our members and has the potential to creates new businesses.”