Return to News

Fairstead and Alachua County Celebrate Sweetwater Square with Community Day and Ribbon Cutting

Press Release | 06/02/22

group of people cutting ribbon with big scissors

Completed renovations will enable residents to enjoy beautiful, affordable homes for years to come

Partnerships with over a dozen community organizations provide services to residents

GAINESVILLE, Fla.June 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Fairstead, a purpose-driven, vertically integrated real estate company committed to sustainable development and the creation and preservation of high-quality housing, and officials from Alachua County today celebrated the completion of renovations of Sweetwater Square in Gainesville, Florida with a Community Day party for residents and ribbon cutting. The rehabilitation of the fully affordable development, formerly known as Forest & Village Apartments, preserves 200 beautiful, affordable homes for years to come. The project was funded through the Alachua County Commission’s approval of $26.5 million in Alachua County Housing Finance Authority Multifamily Mortgage Revenue Bonds.

Fairstead worked with residents to rename the property – Sweetwater, named for nature destinations around Gainesville – in celebration of the renovations and new connections to the community. Supportive services provided in partnership with over a dozen community organizations will improve health outcomes and quality of life for residents.

“Fairstead’s holistic approach at Sweetwater Square is what we are proud to be doing across the country: offering residents the long-term, high-quality affordable housing they deserve as well as supportive services that will strengthen health, connections between neighbors, and quality of life,” said Estelle ChanDirector, Development, at Fairstead. “In partnership with trusted local leaders and organizations, we are making sure that Sweetwater Square is more than a place to live, but a thriving community.”

“Through partnerships with companies like Fairstead, we can begin to address affordable housing challenges in ways that have significant impacts on the lives of our residents,” said Alachua County Commission Chair Marihelen Wheeler.

The Community Day brought together Sweetwater Square families and community leaders for an afternoon of entertainment and food. Sweetwater Square residents enjoyed a kids’ activity zone, decorating and painting planters, local food trucks, and live music, as well as access to resources including health screenings.

“The Rawlings Elementary Center for Fine Arts has been proudly serving the children of Gainesville for years, and we are thrilled to partner with Fairstead to bring programming to families at Sweetwater Square. Bringing local partners and neighbors together strengthens and enriches our community,” said Rawlings Elementary Center for Fine Arts Principal Laura Creamer.

“The Library Partnership Resource Center has partnered with Fairstead’s Resident Services Coordinator at the newly renamed Sweetwater Square for many years, working together to coordinate services and outreach events for families. These services strengthen families and their children, providing them with the tools they need to thrive. The Resident Services Coordinator is a great advocate for this community!” said Cherie A. Kelly, Library Partnership Resource Center Manager.

Sweetwater Square’s renovations of its 200 apartments included upgraded kitchens with new cabinetry, countertops and energy-efficient appliances, and upgraded bathrooms with new tubs, vanities, toilets, and low-flow plumbing fixtures. The apartments also received new LED light fixtures and new flooring.

Fairstead’s renovations also included the replacement of windows, roofs, and HVAC systems. All building exteriors were repainted, and new property and building signage was installed to better enhance wayfinding.

Site improvements included increased exterior lighting, a new security camera system, centralized site ingress and egress, and new landscaping. Security measures were also enhanced with new site lighting and a state-of-the-art camera system, and new site fencing.

Supportive services will improve access to care for residents, including community events, food access, civic engagement, educational opportunities, healthcare, security, and more. The on-site property management and social services team has developed relationships and programming for residents with partner organizations including the Alachua County Commissioners, Alachua County Department of Social Service, Alachua County Victim Services, City of Gainesville Police Department, Alachua County Department of Health, School Board of Alachua County, Salvation Army and Gainesville Community Ministry food banks, University of Florida HealthStreet Mobile Outreach Clinic, Santa Fe College, Island Doctors, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Gator Paws Pet Therapy, Vote Alachua, Upper Room Church, and the Library Partnership for Strong Families-Social Services.

About Fairstead
Fairstead is a purpose-driven vertically integrated real estate developer specializing in creating sustainable, high-quality housing. The firm’s national footprint includes more than $6 billion in assets and identified pipeline. With offices in New YorkMaryland, and South Carolina, Fairstead’s team manages 90+ communities across the country and runs its comprehensive real estate platform, which includes acquisitions and development, venture capital investments in prop tech, design and construction, energy and sustainability, property management, marketing, and leasing. The firm also administers one of the industry’s most proactive community impact programs to provide on-site support services to residents. For more information, visit

Press Release|Fairstead and Alachua County Celebrate Sweetwater Square with Community Day and Ribbon Cutting|06/02/22