As chronicled on these pages last spring, the lakeside OTP city of Gainesville is experiencing an influx of relatively dense, mixed-use development with an emphasis on walkability that wouldn’t be out of place in intown hot zones like Old Fourth Ward or Grant Park.

But this is not one of those times.

Branch Properties, the Atlanta-based real estate investment firm and developer behind such projects as Hugh Howell Marketplace in Tucker (completed last year) and Summerhill Station (expected this summer) announced plans today for a 14-acre Gainesville venture that’s yesteryear suburban in virtually every way.

Called Limestone Marketplace, the Publix Super Market-anchored shopping center is set to claim land along U.S. Highway 129, just west of Interstate 985. According to developers, the site is less than two miles from Gainesville’s historic, walkable downtown.

Courtesy of Branch Properties

Limestone Marketplace calls for a 55,000-square-foot Publix (similar in size to Summerhill’s) along with a 21,800-square-foot row of spaces for restaurants, retailers, and service providers. Beyond that, set amongst parking lots, the project also calls for three outparcels ranging from 1 to roughly 3 acres.

Branch officials say the project will break ground this spring and deliver quickly—in the second quarter of 2024. It’s “already seeing impressive leasing demand” from prospective tenants, per a project announcement.

The area’s substantial growth—including jobs in the medical, higher education, and manufacturing fields—makes building in Gainesville attractive, per Branch officials.

According to U.S. Census estimates, the City of Gainesville’s population swelled by more than 26 percent between 2011 and 2021, while Hall County grew by 13 percent, per the developer.

Planned retail layout of the 14-acre Limestone Marketplace project in Gainesville.Courtesy of Branch Properties

Courtesy of Branch Properties

Branch owns and manages two other Gainesville properties: the Publix-anchored Village Shoppes at Gainesville and Lakeshore Mall. Limestone Marketplace will mark the company’s fifth Publix-anchored center in the Southeast, including the recently completed Perimeter Marketplace in Dunwoody.

The Gainesville area “has proven to be one of the best markets for development due to its incredible population growth and increased need for high-quality retail,” Branch CIO Jesse Shannon said in a prepared statement. “Limestone Marketplace is poised to become the premier neighborhood hub for essential shopping and dining in Gainesville.”


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