The City of Gainesville has seen several new additions to the downtown area in 2023.
Gainesville Mayor Sam Couvillon spoke to AccessWDUN about the improvements the city has made this year and what residents can look forward to in 2024. He highlighted one of the biggest changes to the downtown square earlier this year in the form of a new music venue.
“Back in the spring, Boot Barn Hall came on,” Couvillon said.“ That was about a $12 million investment. We were so excited about that, to bring in some entertainment, to the downtown square, along with a really good restaurant, giving people more options of having quality dining.”
Then, the square welcomed the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in August along with The National apartments in September.
“That was exciting for us,” Couvillon said. “For me, personally, I felt like the missing piece to downtown was having that top-tier hotel…We just did not have that premier hotel in our downtown corridor, which we now have.”
Mayor Couvillon emphasized the upgrades to the area required the input of several city staffers.
“I want to make sure I give credit where credit is due. Our staff is very, very good. City Manager, Brian Lackey, Assistant City Manager, Angela Shepherd,... Rusty Ligon, he's a true professional. You know, he wakes up in the morning, and he's thinking about how we can make Gainesville better. Of course, they pitch any number of ideas to the council and ultimately, it's the council's job to approve things.”
While making choices for development in the area, Couvillon noted the council’s strategy was to make Gainesville as appealing to new residents and businesses as possible, in light of residential buildings such as The Everly, making their way to the area.
“When we approved that, we had in mind, ‘Okay, we're not gonna have apartments, they're not going to be full unless you have other amenities to go with it’. So, what can we do to attract restaurants? What can we do to attract the music venue?... In order to do that we need to be focused on what people want. How about walkability? You know, with that bridge, we kind of had a key cog already figured out.”
Couvillon also said the development in 2023 is essential for boosting the city’s local economy.
“There's a feeling that if you're not growing, you're dying,” he said. “I think growth is important…We have local businesses, and there's a trickle-down effect when you bring more people in here.”
In 2024, residents can look forward to even more coming to Downtown Gainesville in the Historic Walton Jackson Building.
Catering space for the Marriott hotel, The Vault, North Georgia BBQ, and eatertainment venue DECOY are all expected to open next year, according to Couvillon.