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Innovation Square Roads, Walkways and Utilities Set Stage for Development

Innovation Square Roads, Walkways and Utilities Set Stage for Development

Innovation Square is poised for the future with the completion of improvements that will make it easy for additional developers to construct buildings there.

In addition, work has begun on the 308-bed Infinity Hall, a residence aimed at University of Florida students interested in entrepreneurship.

The infrastructure work on the 12-acre site “superblock” that is core of Innovation Square includes underground utility lines, wide walkways, drainage improvements and plantings. Both SW Ninth Street and SW Third Avenue have been extended through the project.“We’ve created all the infrastructure to provide a competitive edge so that new companies can ‘plug and play,’ quickly constructing new buildings without having to wait for infrastructure to be built,” said

Diane Gilreath, a manager with the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency.

The CRA built the roads and walkways for Innovation Square, the former Alachua General Hospital site that is now envisioned as a “walk, live and play” area.

GRU constructed underground utility lines for electricity and gas, a backup generator and a chilled water facility that will provide air conditioning for buildings in Innovation Square. The construction also includes lines for GRUCom, Cox Communications and AT&T.

The City of Gainesville built innovative storm water drainage improvements.

Potential additional projects for the Innovation Square area – which totals 40 acres – include apartments targeted for workers in Gainesville’s innovation economy and a grocery store, said Ed Poppell, director of the University of Florida Development Corp., which owns the land.

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Other potential buildings would house companies doing research and developing new products and services.

The Innovation Square area includes the Ayers Medical Plaza, which is being converted into space for innovation-based companies. Mindtree’s U.S. Development Center has occupied much of the third floor of the building for nearly two years. Mindtree has now completed renovations of the fourth floor with plans to add 150 jobs to its current work force of 130.

Completion of the infrastructure gives Innovation Square a significant advantage in recruiting new companies.

“The framework is place, and prospects can touch and feel it,” Poppell said. “Innovation Square is more than a vision, and we can have a more energized discussion.”

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