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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