Connecting the Community

Written by Nick Banks,
featured in Business in the Heart of Florida Magazine

Connections are important in every business and real estate is no exception. It’s a relationship business and people working together toward a mutual goal of doing a deal, constructing a building or developing a community is what makes our industry thrive. 

Connections are important in other ways too. Infrastructure connects the places we live, do business, and where we enjoy our leisure time together. Connections like roads, bike paths, transit systems and sidewalks allow us to get to the places we want to go so we can do the things we want to do.

Gainesville is undergoing a transformation right now and many don’t even realize that it is happening. New roads and bridges will connect our community in ways we could not have imagined a few years ago. These new roads are opening up vast areas of development which were once land-locked and inaccessible, virtually creating “new” real estate. 

Large scale development projects like Celebration Pointe, Butler North, and West 38 are underway.  The bridge spanning I-75 which will connect Celebration Point and Butler North will tie to connections through West 38 all the way to Hull Road and into the University of Florida’s campus.  It will soon be possible to travel from Archer Road west of I-75 all the way to UF’s campus without ever driving on Archer Road east of the interstate or on SW 34th Street. Park and ride facilities and bus rapid transit lanes will ease congestion and give commuters alternate ways to get to employment centers. 

For cycling enthusiasts and pedestrians, the Archer-Braid trail will provide a multi-use path from the City of Archer through Haile Plantation, Celebration Pointe, Butler North, West 38, UF, downtown Gainesville and all the way to the City of Hawthorn. Talk about connections!

So what do all these road connections mean to those of us that live here? All of these new projects are bringing unique businesses as well as mixed-use environments at a scale Gainesville has not encountered before providing new options for shopping, dining, living and working. 

But the real win for our community is how all of these new projects and infrastructure connections will facilitate the most important connections of all.  The ones we make with each other.  

About Nick Banks
Nick Banks is the managing director of Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group located in Gainesville, FL. Front Street offers brokerage, management and mortgage banking services to its commercial real estate clients throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida, where he serves as an advisory board member to the Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. He is vice-chairman of the board for United Way of North Central Florida and serves on the board of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce. 

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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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