County seeks additional funds for new St. Pete innovation center Innovation

Pinellas County is seeking an additional $3.8 million to help fund a portion of the new 45,000-square-foot innovation center incubator in St. Pete. 

The Tampa Bay Innovation Center, which will be renamed ARK Innovation Center, will be the first in Pinellas County purposely constructed to focus on entrepreneurs. It will be located on 2.5 acres donated by the City of St. Petersburg at 4th Street and 11th Avenue South in the Innovation District.

The project, which was estimated to cost $12 million, is now a $15.87 million project – a nearly $3.87 million jump from the previously estimated cost. 

“The need for this request is the steeply rising costs of construction, resulting in a significantly higher construction bid,” a letter from Cindy Margiotta, Division Director for the Pinellas County Economic Development, read. 

The U.S. Economic Development Administration previously approved roughly $7.46 million to go toward the project. The new ask of $3.8 million would then bump up the total commitment from the EDA to nearly $11.26 million if the new request were to be approved. 

If the Economic Development Administration approves the county’s request, the county’s share of the cost of the project would be reduced to 29%, or $4.61 million. 

The new ask was made prior to iconic investor Cathie Wood’s announcement of partnering with the Tampa Bay Innovation Center and paying $2 million for naming rights. 

The county would use that $2 million toward construction costs, as the ask for the additional funds is pending, according to the county’s economic department.  

The county previously applied for a $4 million grant through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, an economic development program designed to promote public infrastructure and workforce training; however, the ask was denied. 

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