Gainesville Small Business Task Force - Meeting 1 Recap and Summary

The Gainesville Chamber's Small Business Task Force had their first meeting November 2013. Front Street's own Seth Lane was invited by the Chamber of Commerce to be part of the task force. Seth has written a summary of the first meeting and will continue to write updates on future meetings with Gainesville's Small Business Task Force. 

By Seth Lane

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In mid-November of last year, key administrators at the City of Gainesville, led by Mayor Ed Braddy, joined local business leaders at the first of four planned meetings of the Gainesville Small Business Task Force. I was honored to have been invited by the Chamber of Commerce to participate in this important discussion. The charge of this task force is simple; How can business leaders and City officials collectively work to improve the quality of life and business climate in Gainesville.

Without much preamble, the benefits of gathering leaders who are dedicated to the future success of Gainesville became very apparent. At the onset of the meeting, the City staff proudly discussed proactive changes that have already be enacted. Existing hurdles were openly discussed and the sincerity of all parties work toward common goals was apparent and worthy of acknowledgment.

 Since the meeting, further progress has been made. The City of Gainesville launched a new website, aiming to be more accessible to those served and offering more transparency to traditionally bureaucratic processes. The City is beta-testing a 5 day work week for select division, to ensure private sector business who depend on responsiveness from City staff can keep their businesses productive. 

 Above all, the focus of both groups needs to be shifting the perception that Gainesville is a difficult place to do business. Perception is reality and we must all work together to promote a more accurate message. These efforts are not bound by the city limits. This is a regional push to foster economic growth while retaining the community character we all hold so dear. 

 I look forward to future meetings of the task force and will report along the way. 

Here is the related story from the Gainesville Sun:

http://www.gainesville.com/article/20140129/articles/140129546#gsc.tab=0

 

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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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