by Joe Courter
South Main Street’s got a lot of activity going on these days, and in the future it can be expected to be a hub of activity for all of Gainesville. The new traffic circle is open at Depot and South Main Street, and south of there will soon be a streetscape project in preparation for the construction and opening of the Cade Museum of Innovation. South of there, at the old Eddie C’s/Backstage Bar location, will be the new home of “The Doris,” an art space that was formerly up on North Main Street until landlord issues forced their temporary closing.
Just North of the new Doris and east a block on Veitch Street, First Magnitude Brewing Company is going great and has become a frequent host to benefit events for the community. Being one block from the Gainesville Hawthorne Bike trail, it is a super location.
Just east of that traffic circle is the long abandoned Poole Roofing and Sheet Metal building, right across Depot Ave. from the restored Depot building and Depot Park. Chris Fillie has a two-year purchase option on that property and is creating an industrial arts incubator, as well as space for organizational offices. Sequential Artist Workshop will be expanding into there, as well as the climate change advocacy group “We Are Neutral.” The space (it is big) will also host a large art gallery and event space. It will also be a parking asset to events at the new Depot building and park. More info on goings on there is available from Chris Fillie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
North of the circle is the old Gainesville Neon building and property. The Freewheel Project will be an amazing mixed-use dedicated to all things bicycle. (Please see article on page 6.) This is right across from the entrance to the Baird Center, home of the Acrosstown Repertory Theater and Akira Wood.
Immediately North of the Baird Center at 6th and Main, SoMa Arts Center has opened, filling the vacuum following the closing of Central Florida Office Plus for art and architecture supplies, and with an unmatched level of coolness and community sensibility.
Further north on Main, between SE 5th and 6th Avenues, the planning stages for constructing the new fire station have begun, with the first community meeting set for April 9. Preliminary plans looks promising for retention of parking access for Citizen’s Co-op, Wild Iris and the Civic Media Center. Approximately 20 angle parking spaces and a sidewalk on SE 5th Avenue will compensate for the existing parking lot being lost to construction of the new station. Citizen’s Co-op has been doing better since settling their labor issues, and in the CMC, the Rad Press Coffee shop has reopened after a reorganizing period.
Yes indeed, South Main has it goin’ on. With all this being said, it is important to take into account the impact of all this on the Porters neighborhood just west of South Main. The real estate sharks are circling, and it is up to the City to help keep that longtime neighborhood whole by not allowing detrimental zoning changes, and taxing to run people out of their homes. Changes like those delineated above should lift all boats, and not throw people overboard.