Recently, a delegation of leaders representing Huayu Group Co, Ltd.—a full service, privately owned commercial real estate company from China—visited Greater Gainesville to tour Celebration Pointe and participate in a signing ceremony signifying a $70 million investment in the project.
“Now is a very good time to invest in the U.S.,” said Mr. Jian Yu, Chief Investment Officer at Huayu. “We chose Florida because the economy is improving and as a state, Florida is just alive with promise.”
Also among delegates were Amos Jiang, the Chairman’s son; Hanna Wang, Senior Real Estate Analyst; and Natalie Cao, Analyst. Also in attendance was Al Tarar, Chairman and Managing Partner of Arcis Capital Partners, an advisory firm specializing in cross-border investments.
Tarar said that the two primary factors in Huayu’s selection of Celebration Point as an investment project were the fact that much of the infrastructure work had already been done, and the strong, ethical reputations of Svein Dyrkolbotn, a former graduate of UF and Principal of Gainesville-based Viking Co’s. Dyrkolbotn along with Patricia M. Shively formed Celebration Pointe Holdings, the owners of the project.
“Arcis means fortess/citadel and we chose that name because it represents security for our clients,” Tarar said. “This investment is one we were very proud to recommend to our clients.”
Huayu’s investment in the Celebration Pointe development signifies its first U.S. investment ever. The company is enthusiastic about identifying opportunities to make future U.S.–based investments. Huayu chose Gainesville for very specific reasons, including its convenient, central location in Florida and its unmatched education assets.
“Education is very, very important to our company,” Yu said. “When we invest, we want to invest in something that supports economic growth and education is one of those things.”
Celebration Pointe’s fresh infusion of new capital will help speed up construction of the development which, since the opening of Bass Pro Shops in November 2016, continues to advance on many fronts, including a new headquarters for software firm Info Tech, a second new Class A office building, Gainesville’s first “state-of-the-art “ luxury theater, a 10-screen Regal Cinemas with a full service bar and lounge and the initial phase of the projects “main street” called City Walk. In addition, a 140 room Hotel Indigo is set to break ground in June as well as the first phase of City Place, one of the project’s several luxury apartment components, which will be ready for occupancy in Summer 2018. The developer has indicated that a number of new tenant announcements will be made over the coming weeks.
“With this investment, a fresh supply of gas has been put in the tank and the tank is full,” Tarar said. “We will see the progress of construction speed up exponentially and cause tremendous progress in the next few months.”
Yu sees Celebration Point as a key part of a bright future not only for Greater Gainesville, but the entire north central Florida region .
“This project is going to change the local lifestyle in a positive way,” Yu said.