The Guide asked local real estate leaders why the Greater Gainesville area is prime for relocation.
CRAIG WILBURN–Team Dynamo, Team Lead, Keller Williams Realty, Inc.
A lot of people ask me, “Why Greater Gainesville?” Here are a few reasons why I love this area and believe that you will agree.
It has natural beauty. With an abundance of trees, springs, and lakes as well as rolling hills and a vast prairie coupled with some of the most magnificent sunsets I have ever seen, there is beauty everywhere you look. And, we like to keep it that way. We respect our natural resources and protect them fiercely.
There is a thriving art and theater scene. Every night of the week, you can experience something that will enhance your senses: a production making its world premiere at the Hippodrome, a play to rival any on Broadway at one of our community theaters, breathtaking works of art at the Harn or at local galleries during art walk events…the list goes on, as does the entertainment.
Speaking of entertainment, we have a rich musical history. Tom Petty, Bo Diddley and Sister Hazel are among the music powerhouses that call Gainesville home. You can still run into Sister Hazel and hear them playing every now and then at Cymplify, their dining, shopping and entertainment compound on Newberry Road.
We are passionate about health and fitness. Shands at UF is one of the world’s leading research medical centers, and it’s right in the middle of our city. Along with Shands, there are hundreds of the nation’s best medical experts practicing at the massive North Florida Regional Medical Center as well as clinics and specialty practices located just steps from one other. The focus on health is probably what leads to our passion for fitness. Look around and you’ll see runners, cyclists, walking groups, and a copious number of gyms and fitness centers. And, it’s not just the college students!
Speaking of college students, we have a significant number of those, too! As one of the best college towns in the nation and the home of one of the leading research universities in the U.S., we have our share of both students and professors. It is the University of Florida that put Gainesville on the map. However, the products and research that have resulted from their beginnings at UF are what keep our city thriving. And, they are what will drive this city into its next phase of growth fueled by innovation and entrepreneurship, bvoth of which are alive and well in our area.
Alachua County is one of the nation’s hotbeds for innovation and home of the world-renowned Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator, which has been named No. 1 in the world for several years. From there, a few NASDAQ-traded companies have sprouted and are thriving — and employing — in our area. Tech incubators, such as the Hub, Starter Space, and the student dorm and tech space Infinity Hall, are leading the way for startups that tap into the creative and engineering power that is attracted by the university. With growing companies that provide good jobs to those just starting out, we are retaining millennials and attracting their older counterparts.
Why? We are close to Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and more, yet we have the conveniences of a smaller metro area: lower cost of living, a much higher quality of life and fresh air from all of our natural resources. Did I mention how many trees we have?
So, really, the answer to “Why Greater Gainesville?” should really be “Why NOT Greater Gainesville?” I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
DALE KINSELL President, Kinsell Custom Homes, LLC., Arthur Rutenberg Homes
Greater Gainesville is often heralded as one of the best areas in Florida to live, work and play. What makes the region so special, and why should you choose this city to call home?
First, Greater Gainesville’s location in the heart of Florida is optimal. Close enough to Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville for a quick car ride, and five hours from Miami and Atlanta. You have access to larger cities right within reach, but get to maintain the suburban, small-town feel of a metro area containing only 250,000 full-time residents. The region is also surrounded by amazing natural amenities. Payne’s Prairie, Hogtown Creek, Devil’s Millhopper, Loblolly Woods, Devil’s Den, Hawthorne Rail Trail, and a multitude of local springs decorate the landscape of North Central Florida with some of Mother Nature’s most gorgeous gifts. Florida’s Nature Coast and pristine Atlantic beaches are also within reach.
Plus, Greater Gainesville has all the attractions and culture of a large city. The University of Florida, Santa Fe College, and our thriving business community attract residents from all over the world. As the brightest minds in their fields leave our cutting edge educational institutions, many students decide to plant roots in Gainesville to take advantage of the economic prosperity. The various backgrounds and cultures that have been drawn to our great town led the area to develop a diverse and sophisticated dining scene. Furthermore, the Harn Museum of Art, the Philips Performing Arts Center, Hippodrome State Theatre, and the Florida Museum of Natural History consistently receive critical acclaim in their fields for their productions and exhibits.
Perhaps the most impressive of all that Greater Gainesville has to offer and is known for is the state-of-the-art medical facilities and innovations that take place right in our back yard. Patients from all over are drawn to the care and expertise second to none. The teams at UF Health/ Shands and NFRMC constantly develop new technologies and life-saving techniques that doctors and professionals from around the world come to study and replicate in their own communities.