ST. PETERSBURG — A new state-of-the-art business incubator designed for technology and advanced manufacturing startups is coming to St. Petersburg, courtesy of a $7.5 million federal investment.
The investment behind the planned 45,000-square-foot facility is from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, according to a statement. Pinellas County will provide matching funds of up $4.5 million to for design and construction, while the City of St. Petersburg will provide the land for the incubator, on the southwest corner of 11th Ave. South and 4th St. North, the release adds.
The operator of the incubator will be the Tampa Bay Innovation Center. Pinellas County officials also plan to seek additional project funding from Florida and private sector investors, the release states.
"This investment by the EDA, along with support from Pinellas County and our partners at the City of St. Petersburg, will help launch the next generation of entrepreneurs in our community," says Pinellas County Commission Chairwoman Karen Seel in the statement. "We're grateful for this wonderful opportunity."
The project is in St. Petersburg's Innovation District and the city's Community Redevelopment Areas, as well as a federal Opportunity Zone. The proposed split-level, two-story structure with an atrium will include a prototype lab equipped with 3D printers, a podcast studio, educational and collaborative space, a coffee shop and space for corporate innovation partners, the release states. It will be designed and constructed over a three-year period from the date of the grant award.
“This is the next step in our evolution," says Tampa Bay Innovation Center President and CEO Tonya Elmore in the statement. "We're excited for the construction of this purpose-built incubator that will foster high-tech and advanced manufacturing ventures. The programs provided will include coaching, mentoring, educational opportunities, access to investment and more innovative programs aimed at early-stage entrepreneurs."