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.
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.
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.
Follow What’s Happening at Tampa Bay Schools
Subscribe to our free gradebook newsletter
We’ll analyze the local education and state developments you need to know about every Thursday.
You are all registered!
Want more of our free weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s start.
Explore all your options
The building also has large bay windows on all sides.
“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.”