By Anthony Clark | The Gainesville Sun
After more than a decade of stops and starts, plans are again in motion for the Springhills mixed-use development in conjunction with the adjacent SantaFe Village and nearby Park Avenue at Santa Fe - projects that could bring up to 2 million square feet of retail and office space combined and thousands of houses and apartments to the area along Northwest 39th Avenue near Interstate 75.
Applications for preliminary development plans to the county are imminent for both the Springhills property and SantaFe Village, which are master planning their projects together, according to David Coffey, land-use attorney for both projects.
Nearby property owners will have a chance to learn about the preliminary plans and make comments about both developments during a neighborhood workshop at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Haven Hospice’s E.T. York Community Room at 4200 NW 90th Blvd.
The development plans fall under county guidelines adopted in December 2010 requiring urban design that includes interconnected streets, a walkable town center with a mix of office, retail and multifamily housing. Both projects would include stations for a proposed bus rapid transit system.
The Alachua County Commission in 2007 rejected a more auto-dependent Springhills development plan that included wider roads and big box retailers under prior county planning guidelines after more than 2,000 people opposed the plans during a public meeting.
The Springhills property is being developed by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust in conjunction with the 159-acre SantaFe Village, owned by SantaFe HealthCare, parent company of AvMed, Haven Hospice and The Village retirement community.
Springhills covers the northwest, northeast and southeast quadrants of I-75 and Northwest 39th Avenue. The maximum development allowed on the site would include 1 million square feet of retail space, 400,000 square feet of office space and 3,500 residential units. SantaFe Village to the east could include a maximum of 219,700 square feet of retail, 460,970 square feet of office, 250 hotel rooms and 1,473 residential units. The SantaFe Village already includes office for SantaFe Health Care, AvMed and Haven Hospice.
Coffey said market demand will determine how much actually gets built.
County Growth Management Director Steve Lachnicht said the developers will probably not build as much as the county would like.
“We’re pushing them to do more to make efficient use of their property,” he said.
A Fort Lauderdale developer has submitted a preliminary development plan for 27 acres it has under contract to buy from PREIT on the southeast corner of Northwest 39th Avenue and 83rd Street.
The development - which has gone by the working titles Santa Fe Commons and now Santa Fe at Park Avenue - would include 30,000 square feet of retail, medical and office space and 300 rental apartments, according to Jason Robertson, managing member of the development partnership.