Research business

Inside USF’s new $42 million research facility

Inside the newest addition to the University of South Florida Research Park, a wall along the first-floor staircase features a series of painted gray bulls, leaning upwards.

The detail using the USF mascot is symbolic, said Sylvia Thomas, acting vice president for research and innovation, who touts the development of the 120,000-square-foot building as a home for businesses at the lab space search and collaboration.

“We want them to be inspired,” Thomas said. “We want to continue this upward trajectory with the University of South Florida and our partners. »

The $42 million building – $27 million has been spent on the core and the shell – is awaiting tenants. The remaining funds from a mix of taxable bonds and equity will be dedicated to custom-build lab and office spaces based on tenant demands.

The entrance hall of a newly constructed building at the University of South Florida Research Park on March 24, 2022 in Tampa. USF officials say companies that move will be able to collaborate with researchers at the university and other nearby institutions. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

USF officials hope to take advantage of the building’s proximity to the Moffitt Cancer Center, the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, the university’s College of Engineering and a small business development center.

“The new startups that are happening in Tampa Bay and all the new businesses that are coming to the area, well, we want them to partner with us and grow their business,” Thomas said. “We want them to collaborate with our faculty researchers and hire our students for internships and work with our technology transfer office in terms of intellectual property, trademarks and copyrights.”

Allison Madden, director of USF Operations Research Foundation, said the supply of corporate space facilities to grow — at Uptown prices. She declined to state rates, but said they vary by length of lease and space. It’s not trying to compete with other areas of the city, she says.

“I’m not looking to blow a hole in a Westshore building,” she said. “We are trying to develop the pie. »

While several companies have shown interest, they have yet to commit, Madden said.

The three-story building includes a mechanical room that filters air, making it suitable for laboratory spaces.

Specialized airflow equipment in the new building is needed for the labs.
Specialized airflow equipment in the new building is needed for the labs. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

It will also feature public retail and dining spaces, as well as a rooftop staging area – all places where private Envision researchers Madden and Thomas mix and collaborate with university researchers. Temporary labs provide workspace while are built to order from the companies’ permanent labs.

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The building also has large bay windows on all sides.

An outdoor common area will provide an opportunity to socialize as tenants occupy the newly completed building at the University of South Florida Research Park, seen March 24, 2022.
An outdoor common area will provide an opportunity to socialize as tenants occupy the newly completed building at the University of South Florida Research Park, seen March 24, 2022. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

“It’s transparency to the community,” Madden said. “Even though we don’t want them to see exactly what we’re doing, we want them to see there’s hubbub here, 24/7. There are working people and they are going to solve the problems of the world and they are doing it here”.

Madden said she sees the building as the next step in connecting the university with solutions beyond theory. The building sits on 112 acres owned by the USF Research Park, which is approximately one-third developed.

“We’re creating an environment where bright people can succeed,” she says. “They have to solve the world’s problems. We just have to give them the look, the facility, they need to do it.”