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Concept Companies: A Journey Born From Vision & Innovation

Concept Companies: A Journey Born From Vision & Innovation

A Journey Born from Vision and Innovation

Concept Companies, headquartered in Gainesville, Florida, operates as a privately held and fully integrated commercial real estate development firm. The company’s fundamental objective revolves around serving their customers and enhancing communities with a hands-on, concierge approach and a team of experts committed to excellence. With a localized focus on masterful development initiatives and a footprint spanning the United States, Concept employs teams of adept professionals who execute top-tier projects across diverse sectors including mixed-use, retail, laboratory, office spaces, early childhood education, multifamily residences and hospitality ventures. The company fully embraces the responsibility for each undertaking, meticulously crafting spaces and places that enhance the community while creating long-term value for its clients and partners.

Seeking to cultivate a culture focused on growth and advancement, Founder and CEO of Concept Companies Brian Crawford believes thoughtful leadership means engaging a team in a shared vision.

“We sought from the beginning to develop a team of like-minded people who all want to get better–all want to pursue greatness–want to make their community and the world a better place,” said Crawford.

The company created a team of people united by a belief that every community could be transformed through bold ideas and unconventional thinking.

In the company’s early years, it steadily expanded from residential construction to the construction of municipal projects, power plants and military buildings. Just two short years later, Crawford’s ambition and creativity led him to an opportunity to purchase some key properties and develop them into community-enhancing commercial projects. According to Crawford, work expanded, due mostly to the development not just of successful on-time and on-budget projects, but to the relationships that were formed based on trust and the principles of responsibility and ownership. As he put it simply, “doing what you say you’re going to do.” Today Concept team members refer to this foundational principle as “Own-It,” and incorporate it into their seven core values.

This became especially critical during the financial crisis that began in 2007. When development and construction work all but halted for most, Concept forged a relationship with retailer Dollar General which kept the company moving forward, creating jobs and expanding opportunities. Crawford’s team helped the retailer with their vision to bring affordable, conveniently located retail and groceries to rural “food deserts.”

Through the downturn, Concept emerged as a trusted real-estate partner that could understand their client’s needs and vision and execute a shared plan from start to finish- a fundamental development approach that translated to various sectors. From science and technology companies seeking innovative lab spaces to local child development centers ready to expand and grow, the firm’s client base rapidly diversified. Today, Concept Companies’ projects span across eight sectors: retail, office, education, multifamily, hospitality, health care, science and technology and mixed-use.

Concept Companies has perfected niche commercial real estate with mixed-use developments that serve as a seedbed for groundbreaking technological innovations. More than just a real estate development company – Concept Companies became a catalyst for progress.

Maintaining its headquarters in Gainesville, Concept Companies has extended into numerous other markets in Florida, with an establis

hed secondary office in Jacksonville. While they continue to forge partnerships within the state market, their nationwide presence has also diversified. With their growing success, Concept Companies has begun work on upcoming development projects in Arizona, Texas and Tennessee.

As the team at Concept Companies continues to expand and thrive, they are driven by the spirit of their core values: Own-it, Agility, Candor, Growth, Community, Relentless and Collaboration.

Not only are the words of their core value system prominently displayed in giant lettering on their headquarters’ walls, but the importance behind the intention is demonstrated in each project, every workday and the surrounding community at large. Concept is also a company that believes in servant leadership and while many things set it apart, its leadership looks for one key driver in each team member they add to their carefully curated team.

“If there’s one word that I can think of that makes the company tick, it’s excellence,” said Matt Cason, president of Concept Companies. “I believe it’s something all of our team members and leaders strive for, and providing that level of expertise across the breadth of sectors we specialize in is what makes our clients and partners succeed.”


Client Vision, Development Expertise

Defining an endeavor like Concept Companies is a tall order. One simple explanation is this: from finding the perfect parcel to creating a stunning space, Concept Companies operates as a commercial real estate concierge; a diverse team of specialists across a wide range of disciplines and a growing network of partnerships working in synergy to turn their clients’ exceptional aspirations into an extraordinary reality.

“One thing I love about Concept is the agility we have in our vertically integrated approach to meet a client’s needs- from small businesses looking to add one location or large national brands looking to add many locations across a broad geography. We excel in our ground-up and customized build-to-suit process, as well as our fee-development services,” said Seth Lane, executive vice president of real estate and development at Concept Companies. “We first seek to truly understand our client’s vision and goals, then we can deploy into those markets, find the locations where their business can thrive, build their facility to their specifications and deliver them the new units they need at the speed they need them.”

This is the approach Concept has mastered and is executing in many cities, including providing development services for a project that has just broken ground in Daytona, Florida. Their focused business model and diverse range of experts allow them to support and partner with owners who can rely on that development expertise to deliver their vision.

With an exceptional real estate team, Concept Companies carefully scouts the perfect location for each build. They strive to create a symbiotic relationship within the community’s ecosystem by seeking out property locations that will not only meet the needs of the client but will also have a positive impact on the community. After the process of strategic land lot selection is complete, the team secures the property and begins an in-depth due diligence process to prepare for development. With attention to detail and a focus on timeline and budget, they carefully select a team of architects, engineers and who collaborate to efficiently design the space while the construction team brings the vision to life.


Revolutionizing Space in Retail and Office

Gone are the days of tirelessly plugging in data in an uninspiring cubicle in an outdated office building. Concept Companies has a keen understanding

of the makings of the modern office environment and the needs of today’s office employees. Through their designs, they meet the demands for flexibility and collaboration and strike the balance between productivity and employee well-being. Office spaces designed with amenities and common areas that foster employee engagement and creativity are a hallmark of the Concept style.

Located at Markets West on Tower Road, Concept Companies has developed both the Campbell Spellicy Engineering and Tower Hill Insurance buildings. These customized spaces reflect each company’s unique character and identity, creating environments that align with their respective brand’s professional image. Also located in Markets West, the Concept Companies headquarters office building is an extraordinary example of its work and a true testament to the company’s skill. The two-story building boasts a stylish design with an open office layout and a spacious, contemporary co-work area that can accommodate company gatherings.

Within the retail sector, Concept Companies and their team of architects and contractors collaborate with top business-to-consumer companies to create innovative and dynamic retail spaces. With a commitment to excellence, forward-thinking design and attention to detail, Concept Companies retail projects seamlessly integrate into an ever-evolving market while enhancing the overall experience for both vendors and customers.

“If a company needs to add 10 locations over a two-year period, they would be a great client for us,” said Lane. “We first seek to understand their criteria and what makes a good location for their business. Then, our teams get into the target markets, finding sites that meet those criteria and collaborating with the client to make sure that we are really achieving their priorities. We foster a very collaborative process with our clients, built on a foundation of trust and excellence. From cost to schedule, we actively manage expectations and details to ensure we are meeting the client’s goals.”

For more than a decade, Concept Companies has been the preferred developer for Dollar General. They have developed over 200 locations across 24 counties in Florida. This long-standing partnership is a testament to Concept Companies’ proven track record for delivering projects on time and within budget, showcasing their exceptional process.


Pioneering Early Childhood Education for a Brighter Future

In keeping with their efforts to build a better tomorrow, Concept Companies has committed itself to several projects based on the needs of tomorrow’s leaders. With more than 10 new early childhood education projects in the pipeline, Concept has become a trusted name in this rapidly growing sector.

By utilizing their expertise in mixed-use developments, Concept Companies has been able to work with locally founded, owned and operated O2B Kids to help them reshape the landscape of early childhood education in Greater Gainesville. Concept Companies has been the preferred developer for O2B Kids since 2004. Since that time, they have expanded to seven locations in Alachua County and gone national with locations in Alabama, Georgia and Missouri. Concept Companies collabo

rates with O2B Kids to design centers that foster critical thinking, problem-solving and social-emotional skills. Their early childhood education centers embrace experiential learning and are designed to cultivate creativity and exploration.

“One of the things we do best at Concept is multisite development as a company seeks to grow and expand their presence in a targeted market that has a need. O2B Kids is a company we’re really proud to have established a great working partnership with and that has allowed us to be a part of their expansion journey. We really believe in what they do and the excellence in which they do it, so it’s a real privilege to help companies like these,” said Concept CEO Brian Crawford.

The next O2B Kids location in the area will be opening in the much-anticipated Progress District in Alachua. This strategic placement of the new center will provide an educational home for the children of the area’s many employees and residents, while also immersing students in the cutting-edge research of the life-science cluster. O2B intends to keep with the nature-focused concept of the community, with plans to customize this location to reflect the beautiful backdrop and stunning 7,000-acre San Felasco State Park.

“O2B Kids is proud to be part of the Alachua community. With our new, planned location in the Progress District, we are thrilled to not only continue our involvement in the community but to also be a part of its exciting advancements in biotech and life science. We are passionate about helping children reach their full potential and we believe that our presence in this dynamic and forward-thinking community will only enhance our ability to do so.

We can’t wait to see what the future holds for O2B Kids and Alachua. We look forward to being a catalyst for educational opportunities and technological advancements for Alachua residents,” said Andy Sherrard, CEO of O2B Kids.

Elevating Living and Leisure

Split Oak Cottages at Convergence Park in Progress District

Within the multifamily and hospitality sector, Concept Companies stays true to its commitment to innovation, community and agility. Working in close concert with industry-leading architects, designers and construction teams, their beautifully designed, modern developments are created with unique features and meticulously crafted details. Concept Companies provides exceptional living experiences that will set a new standard for comfort, style and community connectivity. With one hotel and four multifamily projects on the horizon, Concept is focused on enhancing the overall quality of life for residents and guests.

Located on the Halifax River in South Daytona, Sea View Apartments is an exquisite waterfront housing complex set to welcome residents in 2026. This 440 luxury-unit community will impress residents with stunning views of the serene river and picturesque surroundings. Also included will be a spacious ground-floor restaurant space with a waterfront patio, as well as an expansive 770-space parking garage. As part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, the Halifax River connects to the Atlantic Ocean and supports a diverse ecosystem of both fresh and saltwater life. Concept Companies skillfully uses the location’s vibrant landscape to create unique features for future Sea View residents, including 70 marina slips and a convenient water taxi. Taking advantage of these features, residents can embark on relaxing, hassle-free journeys to nearby destinations.

Another Concept project within the multifamily sector is The Split Oak Cottages at Convergence Park in Progress District. This collection of 126 charming cottage-style townhomes is nestled in Progress District amid the San Felasco State Park, Momentum Labs, a bike shop, a cafe and a planned brewery. Residences of the quaint, modern cottages can enjoy all the conveniences of a walkable community while living amongst the surrounding natural beauty of the area. Throughout the district, Concept is working on sustainable landscaping initiatives to reflect the neighboring San Felasco State Park.

Also located in this up-and-coming area is the future development of the Progress District Hotel. This 4-5 story modern hotel will be appropriately situated near the bike shop and park, as well as biking and walking trails. It will cater to outdoor enthusiasts, further supporting the growing ecotourism of the area.

Beyond the state line are two more multifamily projects in development from Concept Companies: The Vue, located on the enchanting Tennessee River and The Bluffs at Woodfin, a collection of hillside units overlooking the French Broad River in Asheville, North Carolina.


Innovating in Wellness

Within the health care sector, Concept Companies has partnered with leading health care providers like HCA to design and construct state-of-the-art medical facilities.

In 2019, Concept Companies developed HCA Florida North Florida Internal Medicine at Markets West. The freestanding clinic and office space is approximately 6,000 square feet with 20 exam rooms. It is staffed by five attending physicians and 60 resident physicians from North Florida’s Graduate Medical Education Program. This conveniently located facility provides primary care to internal medicine patients and those dealing with chronic diseases.

With patient care at the forefront of their design planning, Concept Companies ensures that these spaces prioritize comfort, accessibility and advanced technology. Through their commitment to excellence and innovation, Concept Companies continues to shape the health care landscape, providing spaces that support the well-being and healing of patients and the advancement of health care as a whole.


Creating Ecosystems for Science & Technology

Life science and technology organizations center around innovative ideas and creative solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems. Collaborative spaces and inspirational environments help to fuel these teams as they seek medical and technological advancements to make the world a healthier, better place. The challenge is having the right space and the ideal strategic mix to give these organizations the flexibility they need to thrive.

Concept Companies initially entered this space almost a decade ago with Foundation Park in Alachua, Florida, adding to the already growing cluster of science and technology spaces. Its neighbor, Progress Park, is home to UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech, as well as publicly traded RTI Surgical and 30 other businesses. This sparked in CEO Brian Crawford, who saw very quickly how badly these companies needed the right spaces in the right collaborative environment to succeed, the idea to make the creation of these spaces a key focus of Concept’s development strategy. Through their visionary approach and strategic partnerships, Concept has played a pivotal role in the promotion of scientific research, technological advancements and entrepreneurial endeavors. Concept creates state-of-the-art research facilities and laboratory spaces that attract a diverse range of startups, tech companies and research institutions to Alachua’s Progress District and the Greater Gainesville area—allowing the University of Florida-based community to retain early innovation and talent in the area.


See Also

Equipping the Biotechnology Industry


Momentum Labs


With projects like Momentum Labs at Progress District, Concept Companies has established itself as a driving force in Greater Gainesville’s science and technology ecosystem. This not only fuels local economic growth but also nurtures a diverse ecosystem of collaboration, knowledge sharing and breakthrough discoveries. Concept Companies played an instrumental role in Greater Gainesville strengthening its position as a strong, emerging market for science and technology and solidifying the area as a prominent player in the industry, ultimately drawing attention from investors and industry leaders.

“It’s a unique situation in that a lot of communities would love to have what we have here,” said Director of Science and Technology Ecosystems and Division Head for Momentum Labs, Kyla Frye. “People are collaborating with each other, they’re communicating, they’re celebrating each other’s wins, and they’re sharing talent, workforce and training opportunities. So having a cluster is a big deal, especially in the life science realm.”

From biotechnology to advanced manufacturing, Concept Companies curates a mix of industries in Momentum Labs and their other facilities at Progress District, creating a diverse ecosystem of innovation and science. Their bold efforts push boundaries and their dedication to science and technology foster a vibrant landscape where ideas are born, partnerships are formed and breakthrough innovations thrive.



Advancing Life Sciences in Progress District

Situated amid the lush, 7,000-plus-acre San Felasco State Park and surrounded by the natural beauty of North Central Florida, Progress District consists of 800 acres of existing and future

Resilience in Alachua

development. Currently home to 35 companies and 1200 employees and growing, it is the largest life science ecosystem in Florida.

The development is centered around the existing Progress Park, which has been operating since the 1980s as a research park. The original development came through the vision of then UF President Dr. Robert Marston as a place for university technology projects and private startup companies to cohabitate and benefit from one another. It was in 2014 that Concept Companies began breathing new life into the existing space, transforming the park into a research-based, mixed-use development that merges an established biotech cluster with ecotourism, residential and retail offerings. This unique blend allows for a true sense of community and convenience. Concept Companies added projects like research spaces and manufacturing facilities for local companies, many of which have now been acquired by larger, national firms. Progress Park’s nearly 40 companies, two-thirds of which are bioscience or technology companies, provide over 1200 jobs to the local area. Expansion plans will only enhance this area’s attractiveness to more of these organizations and the high-quality jobs they bring. With a Phase I lab facility underway and Phase II on the horizon, Concept Companies will be developing approximately 100,000 square feet of additional lab space in the district, slated to be up and running in 2024. Turning this thriving cluster into a thriving community, though, takes a more expansive vision.

“When we looked at the best, most sustainable and thoughtful ways to develop and advance Progress District, we did what we always do– we listened to the needs of the organizations we partner with in developing the sort of spaces they need,” said CEO Brian Crawford. “We realized that creating the perfect spaces for teams to work wasn’t enough, especially when you’re recruiting world-class organizations to fill out the area. They needed convenience, available food and beverage options and retail, like our bike and adventure center that allows them to enjoy nature right in their backyard. All in a safe, walkable, consciously developed environment.”

Upon completion, the district will consist of six areas: Progress Park, Foundation Park, Copeland Park, The Convergence, The Hammock and The Ravine. Each of these areas will contribute to the science and technology sector either through providing research and development space or specialized laboratory and office space.

With exciting developments underway and remarkable plans soon to be unveiled, Concept is steadily transforming the Progress District, further solidifying it as one of the fastest-growing life science ecosystems in Florida.

“There’s a lot of energy and excitement around the growth of the Progress District and the amenities Concept Companies is developing in the area,” said Kyla Frye, Concept’s director for science and technology ecosystems. “Alachua, Florida has been a best-kept secret as a top life sciences cluster that is quickly gaining traction nationally. As we continue to welcome well-known names in the industry such as Resilence, Thermo Fisher, Beacon Therapeutics and more to be announced, I think we will see the Alachua County region become a globally recognized destination for biotech companies.”


Where Worlds Converge

Concept Companies is not only contributing to the life science community by adding more research opportunities, but they are also bringing in the things that fuel the researchers: coffee, food, entertainment and more.

“I’ve been here for about three years and I’ve been involved in all of the life science projects in Alachua since starting, and I’ve gotten to know a lot of the scientists,” said Tiffany Watkins, senior director of development at Concept Companies. “It’s lovely being able to work with them and see all the amazing things that they do. But two of the big things they always say: there’s no housing and there’s nowhere to get food. They’re like, ‘When are you going to open a cafe for us to go eat out?’ This is where, as a developer, we really shine because we listen, and we look at the whole picture. Whether we are doing site selection and carefully looking at the surrounding area for a company or building and developing an entire project and understanding all the elements critical for its success.”

This is where Concept Companies came in, quenching the thirst for the things a community needs to grow and thrive.

An innovative approach to urban development, mixed-use projects like Progress District combine a variety of residential, commercial, educational and recreational spaces into a single area to create a dynamic Live, Work, Play community. They promote diverse experiences that foster social interaction and a sense of closeness. These projects also contribute to the efficient use of land, promoting sustainability and minimizing environmental impact.

“There are bike trails that go through the whole thing and walking trails. So, you have this pedestrian ability that you don’t really see anywhere else,” said Watkins.

“It’s great for the people who want to live next to the park and be closer to nature and have the walkability of a community.”

Some future amenities expected to pop up in this dynamic district are a brewery, additional restaurants and cafes, a luxury RV park, a bike park and the newly announced San Felasco Cycle and Adventure store.

“We really looked at how to make the district more than just a good neighbor to San Felasco, but really an extension of the park itself. Interspersing elements of the biking, hiking and riding throughout, and really encouraging the enjoyment and appreciation of one of the state’s most beautiful examples of North Florida nature,” said Crawford.



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