Announcing Innovation Square—a new development to boost UF research and the community

innovation square
Artist conception, Innovation Square, Gainesville FL

Nov. 29, 2010

To: Faculty and Staff

From: President Bernie Machen

Good afternoon,

I’d like to share with you an announcement I made earlier today regarding a large-scale development capitalizing on university research to be built on Southwest Second Avenue between the UF campus and downtown Gainesville.

Back in June of this year, we broke ground on the Innovation Hub on the site of Shands AGH. I alluded to a bigger concept for that area which would be a “merger of downtown, the University and the Tech community.”

That bigger concept is Innovation Square.

As we envision it now, Innovation Square will be a 21st Century reinvention of the town square concept.

Think of it as more than 1 million square feet of dynamic and sustainable live/work/play environment. A new connection between downtown and the campus.

When it’s finished, Innovation Square will cover about 40 acres and provide 3,000 creative-class jobs.

UF’s Office of Technology Licensing will relocate to Innovation Square, joining the Innovation Hub, a business “super incubator” designed to promote the development of new high-tech companies based on UF research. Construction began in June, and the hub is slated to open next fall.

For Innovation Square, companies will be recruited from around the country, venture capitalists will want to be part of the project and startup companies will blossom. Opportunities for intellectual collaborations and entrepreneurial opportunities will abound. The economic potential is tremendous.

Innovation Square also will include retail space, restaurants and local businesses, as well as residential space for people to live.

The heart of the project will be Southwest Second Avenue, which will serve as a vital link between campus and downtown. The Ayers Building will be reconfigured to provide accelerator space – that is, space for emerging companies that have grown beyond incubator space but aren’t quite ready for the bigger spaces that will occupy Innovation Square.

I would like to stress that Innovation Square is, above all, a project that will require the efforts of the entire community, not just the university.

I think it is fair to say that Innovation Square will be a real game-changer for Gainesville, one that the entire community stands to benefit from for many years to come.