USF Research Park Breaks Ground on New Innovation Building Researchers, inventors and entrepreneurs will occupy the 120,000 square-foot building scheduled to open in the fall of 2021.

TAMPA, Fla. (March 10, 2020) – The University of South Florida Research Park will begin construction on a three-story, 120,000 square foot building to house state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, office and meeting space for innovators and both established and startup companies, as well as retail and dining options.

Located at the gateway to the USF Tampa campus, the project is designed to bring together researchers, patent officers, entrepreneurs, financial investors and corporations to maximize the success of technology commercialization and the Tampa Bay region’s growing innovation and knowledge economy.

USF and area leaders came together with the business community today for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the first new USF building in the research park since 2005.

USF President Steven Currall.
““Higher education has a responsibility to serve as a catalyst for regional economic development and upward economic mobility. This facility will enhance our efforts to grow the region’s innovation and knowledge-based economy.” - USF President Steven Currall.
The view of the new USF Research Park building from the north.

The USF Research Park covers more than 112 acres on the north and south sides of Fowler Avenue, adjacent to the USF Tampa campus and under the operation of the USF Research Foundation. USF’s incubator is currently home to more than 65 resident and affiliate companies and the USF Student Innovation Incubator’s dozens of student-led startups. More than half of the incubator companies focus on life sciences and nearly half are commercializing technologies developed by USF researchers.

The new building will be located at the northeast corner of Spectrum Boulevard and Fowler Avenue, and will increase the park’s space inventory by 34 percent, from 349,807 square feet to 469,807 square feet.

USF Board of Trustees Chair Jordan Zimmerman.
"With the growing number of start-ups and early stage companies, and with the USF Research Park at its capacity, this expansion will allow USF to strengthen its ecosystem and expand desperately needed research laboratory space. Reinvestment in the Research Park and its growing community also enables expanded student internships, faculty collaborations, licensing and joint creation of intellectual property as well as forging and facilitating corporate partnerships. I have no doubt that this facility will continue to enhance our recruitment of first-rate faculty and further advance the university’s pathway to AAU eligibility." Jordan Zimmerman, Chair of the USF Board of Trustees.

The USF Research Park buildings – which in addition to housing startups launched by USF faculty and affiliated entrepreneurs, the famed art research institute GraphicStudio and the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame – has been consistently at full capacity in recent years.

The $42 million project is financed through the USF Financing Corporation with $27 million in debt and $15 million cash equity contribution from the USF Research Foundation. The project had previously received approval by the Florida Board of Governors and the USF Board of Trustees. It has a targeted completion in the fall of 2021.

USF Senior Vice President for Research, Innovation & Knowledge Enterprise Paul Sanberg.
“Over the past decade, we’ve worked strategically to create a thriving culture of innovation for our students, faculty and staff, and to engage the wider community in all that we do. Our aim is for great ideas and new technologies to move from the lab to the market where they can benefit the most people. Through the USF Research Park, we’ve worked to create a place where big ideas flourish and big things happen.” - USF Senior Vice President for Research, Innovation & Knowledge Enterprise Paul Sanberg.

Following a competitive process and a demand analysis completed by HR&A Advisors, Inc.,a design/build team from Skanska and integrated architecture, design, planning and consulting firm Gensler were selected. CBRE, the largest commercial real estate services company in the world, was selected as marketer/broker for the project.

The Gensler team’s connection to USF is strong: Four of the six team members are graduates of USF’s School of Architecture and Community Design. They are led in the project by Dawn Gunter, co-Managing Director of Gensler’s Tampa office, who earned a Master of Architecture degree from USF in 2010.

Dawn Gunter, co-managing director of Gensler Tampa and a USF architecture alum.
“The Gensler team worked closely with the USF Research Foundation administration and leadership to incorporate the design elements, structures and artwork to reflect University’s recognized research and innovation, while creating an iconic gateway to the Research Park and destination for creativity and discovery." - Dawn Gunter, Co-Managing Director, Gensler Tampa

Gunter has previously led such notable projects are 400 Channelside Drive, a premier mixed-use development in the Water Street Project, and Riverwalk Place Tower, planned to be the tallest building on Florida’s west coast. Her projects have been recognized by industry organizations including the Golden Brick Award, AIA Tampa Bay and National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.

The USF Research Park is at the heart of USF’s innovation enterprise, which a recent report from the Washington Economics Group said sustains more than 4,000 public and private sector and returns more than $71 million in tax revenue to local, state and federal coffers. An estimated 1,992 people are directly employed in jobs created by the USF innovation enterprise, creating a $548 million annual economic impact statewide.

Scenes from the ground breaking.
Project leader Dawn Gunter and USF Research Park Director Allison Madden.
USF President Steven Currall and USF Board of Trustees Chairman Jordan Zimmerman.
USF student innovators and entrepreneurs will benefit from collaboration and partnerships with established companies and new startups located in the new building.
How sweet it is!