UF announced a new addition Monday to Innovation Square, Gainesville's under-construction, multi-million-dollar research and creativity hub. The addition will be a Business Improvement District, which is expected to become an integral part of bringing local businesses into the fold.
Bringing businesses to the center rings true to values that Innovation Square stands for, said David Green, senior urban designer at Perkins and Will, the firm that designed the center.
The center will act essentially as an incubator for entrepreneurs and provide support as they develop their ideas in Gainesville.
The center does not require its businesses to be university-affiliated.
"This project will be advertised and have notoriety all over the world where research is done," Green said.
The district is planned to be east of the Innovation Square's Core District, between Southwest 10th Street and Northwest 2nd Street. Though it is not yet known how large the district will be, it falls within Innovation Square's 40 acres and will house more than 100 entrepreneurs in residence-hall-style housing.
UF averages 13 spinoff companies a year from its students, with 108 businesses created in total, said Ed Poppell, UF vice president of business affairs. There will be five entry-level jobs created by the center for every one individual with a Ph.D., Green said.
Master leases will be offered by UF under tax rolls, which will bring new jobs and expand businesses, Poppell said.
The research community at UF helped lay the foundation for Innovation Square to grow on, Green said.
"The Business Improvement District helps create beneficial district-wide projects and helps ensure a high level of quality for individual development," Green said.
The street grid built decades ago will act as the framework for development for the entire project, he said.
The project will utilize the natural environment of Gainesville to create a Greenway, which will be used in environmental science research for the center, he said.
The Greenway will go under construction quickly to increase connectivity. It is public, like the roads running through the entire center.
The project will be privately paid for, without any tax dollars, he said.
Green added that after sitting in a room for an entire day meeting with Gainesville Regional Utilities, he and others at the meeting solved many of the infrastructure issues that faced the center, like how to provide water and electricity, as well as transportation, to the center.
Sample photos display buildings and relaxation areas that will be in Innovation Square, a multi-million-dollar research and creativity hub. It will be buit between Southwest 10th Street and Northwest 2nd Street.