Innovation Square Takes Shape

The master plan is to establish an animated live-play-work community stretching between downtown Gainesville and the University of Florida campus. The idea is to connect research and talent at UF with the private sector to accelerate scientific and technological development and local economic growth.

Things are taking shape.

Construction has begun on new roads in Innovation Square with a goal of creating small, “walkable” blocks—a framework that will “facilitate interactions between individuals in the science and technology community.”

According to officials, by turning the old Alachua General Hospital “super-block” back into a pedestrian-friendly grid of interaction, adjacent streets and avenues will literally pave the way for companies that wish to relocate and create jobs in Gainesville. Specifically, SW 9th Street and SW 3rd Avenue will intersect in Innovation Square’s 40-acre core and eventually be surrounded by more than 5 million square feet of research, retail, residential, laboratory and office space. Land for the streets has been donated to the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency by the University of Florida Development Corp.

The activity is attracting attention. Savion Park, an apartment complex scheduled to open in July 2014, has pre-leased about 30 percent of its units. The $10 million project is being built in a modern design to accent neighboring Innovation Square.