Big new Florida project welcomes customers

A 10-screen Regal Cinemas opened at Celebration Pointe last week, joining Bass Pro Shops as one of the early attractions at what developers promise will become a Gainesville, Fla., landmark.

“The March of Dimes moved its annual charity walk to Celebration Pointe this year after having conducted the walk at the same venue for the past 30 years. It drew 4,000 people,” said Ralph Conti, president of RaCo Real Estate, which is co-developing the 160-acre project with Viking Companies. “That goes to show the power and potential of this project. This is going to be the epicenter of North Central Florida.”

Conti said Celebration Pointe will serve as a long-missing town center for Gainesville, a fast-growing healthcare destination for the region and home to the University of Florida. The software company Info-Tech has moved 400 employees into one of two Class A office buildings on the property. The 140-room Hotel Indigo is set to open in September, and two luxury residential complexes are under construction.

Luxury outlets will highlight the extensive retail offerings. Nike Factory Store, Tommy Hilfiger, and Kilwins confectionery have already opened, and dining and entertainment tenants will headline phase one of the project. Shops and restaurants will abide in and around the City Walk and Promenade gathering spaces.

Rascal Flatts Bar & Grill, Miller’s Ale House, MidiCi Pizza, and a second location for Gainseville’s popular Reggae Jamaican restaurant figure to be popular early attractions, Conti said, adding that two new restaurant tenants will be announced soon.

“Everybody in this area has been waiting for this project, and unfortunately, with a project of this scope, we’ve had to phase in the openings,” Conti said. “Right now they’re getting the appetizers, but the main course is soon to come.”

Total GLA at Celebration Pointe will exceed 1 million sq. ft. upon completion of the project. Hoar Construction, a Central Florida builder with a long resume of mixed-use retail and theme parks, is the general contractor.