ULI to Bring National Perspectives on Healthy Development

The Urban Land Institute’s North Florida Council, which covers 34 counties, had its closest programs in Jacksonville. That will change as local real estate professionals have started a ULI chapter here in Gainesville to bring national speakers to discuss development trends and networking opportunities through national association.

Front Street’s Nick Banks is spearheading the chapter. “ULI’s main focus is on building healthy places, about reorganizing and different development initiatives that help create healthy places to live, work and play,” he said.

Two months ago, Front Street hosted an initial meeting to gauge interest. The meeting drew 30 to 40 people, representing developers, brokers, planners, civil engineers and government, Banks said. The ULI Gainesville chapter held its second meeting last Monday and plans to hold a program in January to bring in national speakers.

“The thing I’m most energized about, over the years different panels we’ve had here in town had primarily local speakers, so I think this is an opportunity to bring in speakers from outside the area to bring some fresh ideas of how other communities and other areas are successfully handling real estate development and redevelopment,” Banks said.

The ULI chapter was formed in conjunction with the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. “We see it as a way to introduce industry professionals to students and help them network and then hear those fresh ideas from people in the industry,” Banks said.

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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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