Vacant warehouses may become functional business space once again if a Gainesville Regional Utilities plan to sell surplus properties goes through.
Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency is spearheading the project to revamp warehouses on four separate properties totaling about 40 acres. Three of the buildings are part of the downtown Power District on Southeast Fifth Avenue.
Amelia Bell, a GRU spokeswoman, wrote in an email that the buildings are for sale with the purpose of redevelopment.
Bell wrote vacant locations are a direct effect of the utility company’s consolidation into the GRU Eastside Operations Center, which opened about two years ago on North Main Street.
“The facility enabled us to consolidate operations, which increased efficiency by improving service and providing faster response times,” she wrote. “When we moved to the EOC, several buildings downtown near our administration building were vacated.”
City Commissioner Thomas Hawkins said that while downtown Gainesville has historically acted as an industrial center, the city hopes to use these properties to develop something entirely different.
“We no longer need to use the GRU property for industrial uses,” he said. “We think it’s more important to have those outside of town than inside.”
Last February, Prioria Robotics, a technology firm developed by UF graduates, took the first step in the process when it moved into a surplus GRU warehouse along South Depot Avenue.
A version of this story ran on page 8 on 9/10/2013 under the headline "Local redevelopment agency leads warehouse revamp, repurpose project"