On Thursday, March 15th, the Gainesville City Commission voted to approve two new financial incentive programs which were designed to encourage businesses to relocate to Infusion Technology Center at Innovation Square and the overall Innovation Square district. The incentives are aimed at attracting high-tech industries from the Greater Gainesville area, as well as those found within the remainder of Florida and outside the state. The first, the Company Relocation Incentive, offers eligible companies a 50% match on eligible relocation costs (up to a max of $50,000). In doing so, the incentive decreases the costs for the businesses to relocate to Innovation Square. The second incentive is a new High-Wage Job Creation Incentive, which encourages the creation and maintenance of high-wage jobs within Innovation Square and the other Gainesville CRA districts by offering grants to companies that create or relocate 5 or more full-time jobs. Between the two incentives, science and research companies will see great rewards for moving their businesses into the office and technology space found in Innovation Square. Due to the many advantages to being located within Innovation Square and the close proximity to the University of Florida, the City Commission and economic planners believe that these companies will have more success, grow more rapidly, and therefore hire more employees within the Gainesville area. Viewed this way, these incentives become an investment in job creation, as well as a new tool to bring science and technology companies into the area from out of state.
Innovation Square offers brand new, Class A office and technology space for private companies (and to companies spun-off from UF research). The district includes a technology incubator, the Florida Innovation Hub, in addition to wet labs, dry labs, retail/restaurant space, office/technology space and custom-built space tailored to the exact needs of the building. Compared to other commercial real estate in Gainesville, the district’s focus on sustainability allows it to offer companies reduced overall energy costs and a higher efficiency, in addition to creating collision and collaboration within the community.
As stated in the Gainesville Sun article, “Brent Christensen, president and CEO of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, said the incentives represent “new tools in our economic tool box” to draw companies and keep those spawned in local incubators in the city.”