ARK Innovation Center
Pinellas County breaks ground on site of future Regional Business Incubator
The Pinellas County Commission, along with dozens of business and community partners, on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022 held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new, 45,000 square foot state-of-the-art business incubator. The facility, slated for completion in 2023, will drive economic impact by catalyzing future startups and technology companies in the Tampa Bay region. The groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site of the future ARK Innovation Center (1101 Fourth Street South, St. Petersburg), which will house the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, an incubator already operating and located in Pinellas County.
“The new ARK Innovation Center perfectly fits with the Pinellas County Strategic Plan goal of accelerating job growth in our economy. I am proud of the collective leadership and work to leverage our partnerships and grant opportunities to create this new incubator,” said Charlie Justice, Chairman of the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners.
Pinellas County, in partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the City of St. Petersburg, the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, and ARK Invest, will design, construct, and equip the new facility. The County will contribute approximately $2.6 million in design and construction costs, the U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded an approximately $11.3 million grant for the project design and construction costs, and ARK Invest will contribute funds to cover $2 million in construction. The City of St. Petersburg generously donated the 2.5 acres of land within the Innovation District to bring the project together. Overall, the incubator project cost will total $16 million.
“This facility will be the first in Pinellas County purposely constructed as an incubator for entrepreneurs to thrive,” said Ken Welch, Mayor of St. Petersburg.
Right in the heart of St. Petersburg’s Innovation District, the property is located south of downtown within a census tract that is a federal Opportunity Zone and is within the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area at the southwest corner of Fourth Street South and 11th Avenue South.
The County’s partner and operator, the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, was selected through a competitive process to operate the incubator with a well-established team of board members, advisors and mentors with a track record of generating successful graduates in target industry sectors. Startups and entrepreneurs participating in the Tampa Bay Innovation Center’s programs will have the opportunity to receive dedicated coaching and technical assistance and participate in entrepreneurial programsâ€”all in a modern facility offering affordable leased space and flexible collaborative workspaces.
“Since the launch of our partnership with Pinellas County for an Innovation Center, we have made great progress. This groundbreaking marks the next phase of our long and successful partnership. Our recent collaboration with ARK Investment Management, LLC provides even greater potential to shape our region as an innovation-led economy that will serve to attract talent, wealth, and the most innovative startups. We are excited about the journey ahead,” said Tonya Elmore, President & CEO of the Tampa Bay Innovation Center.
ARK Invest has been a crucial partner in elevating the incubator and the blossoming startup scene in St. Petersburg within the tech community.
“We chose St. Pete among all other cities because of the innovative spirit in the DNA of St. Petersburg,” said ARK Invest CEO and CIO Cathie Wood.
Sitework for the construction of the incubator began in July 2021 and the new building will be finalized by end of Summer 2023. The ceremonial groundbreaking was attended by the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners, County administrators and other staff, Mayor Ken Welch of St. Petersburg and other City of St. Petersburg leaders, local business leaders from the Tampa Bay region and Cathie Wood, CEO and CIO of ARK Invest.
“Fostering continual economic growth, vitality, and a strong workforce is a priority for Pinellas County Economic Development, and it is because of the commitment of our partners and a host of community collaborators that we can celebrate the ARK Innovation Center as a new regional economic asset in St. Petersburg, the next epicenter for innovation,” said Dr. Cynthia Johnson, Director of Pinellas County Economic Development.
B-roll of the event is available for download: Tampa Bay Innovation Center Feb 2022 _ B Roll.mp4 (dropbox.com)
SOTs from the event are available for download: Tampa Bay Innovation Center Feb 2022 SOT.mp4 (dropbox.com)
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About the New Incubator
Pinellas County, in partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the City of St. Petersburg, the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, and ARK Invest, will design, construct and equip an approximately 45,000-square-foot state-of-the-art business incubator to promote new business start-ups and entrepreneurship. Located in the heart of St. Petersburg’s Innovation District, the property is located south of Downtown within a census tract that is a federal Opportunity Zone and is within the South St. Petersburg CRA, at the southwest corner of 4th St S and 11th Ave S.
The new facility will draw entrepreneurs from the region to the comprehensive tech business accelerator offered by the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, to receive dedicated coaching, participate in entrepreneurial programs and expert technical assistance, all in a state-of-the-art facility offering affordable leased space and flexible collaborative workspaces.
Project Cost and Funding
To fund the new structure, Pinellas County will contribute approximately $2.6M in design and construction costs, the US Economic Development Administration has awarded an approximately $11.3M grant for the project design and construction costs, and ARK Invest will contribute funds to cover $2M in construction. The City of St. Petersburg generously donated the 2.5 acres of land within the Innovation District to bring the project to fruition. The County’s partner, the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, was selected through a competitive process to operate the incubator with a well-established team of board members, advisors and mentors with a track record of generating successful graduates in target industry sectors. Overall, the incubator project cost will total $16M.
Targeted Industries and Services
The incubator will strengthen economic resiliency by diversifying and broadening the region’s economic base and strengthening its high wage industry sectors. The Tampa Bay Innovation Center will be focused on recruiting companies in the areas of:
- Medical Devices
- Advanced Manufacturing
- Life and Marine Science
Services offered at the new facility will include counseling; idea validation; strategy development; marketing assistance; network opportunities; access to capital, business schools and interns; and dedicated workspace that is flexible for collaboration. The incubator will include a prototype lab equipped with 3D printers and advanced manufacturing capabilities.
For more information on moving your business to Pinellas County’s new business incubator, contact us at(727) 464-7332 or email us at email@example.com
Pinellas County – The Ideal Business Climate
Pinellas County Economic Development (PCED) works with existing businesses to encourage expansion and seeks to attract new companies with high-wage careers to Central Florida’s Gulf Coast. Through investment tools, professional courses and business counseling sessions, trade missions to open new markets, as well as local, regional and statewide partnerships, PCED fosters a pro-business climate in Pinellas County, Florida.
Pinellas County Economic Development
The EpiCenter, 13805 58th Street North, Suite 1-200
Clearwater, Florida 33760
(727) 464-7332 direct
(888) 759-5627 outside of Florida
(727) 464-7053 fax