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Development agreement approved for smart sensor research center

Posted by Charlene Small on Aug 26, 2014 2:33:00 PM

Osceola County Commissioners approved a development agreement with the University of Central Florida and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council on Monday that lays out construction details for the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center.

The 100,000 square-foot, 2-story building will be built on 20 of the 165 acres set aside for economic development on U.S. Highway 192, across from Osceola Heritage Park. The budget for the first phase is $70 million. The county will be responsible for design and construction, which is expected to begin in March 2015, with a 2-year timeline to completion.

"This is just the next step in our vision to grow high-wage jobs for Osceola County and Central Florida. The center will be the heart of research aimed at advancing technologies that will shape the future," said Commission Chairman Fred Hawkins, Jr. "Interest is high in this facility and I'm confident that it will make Florida a global leader in a rapidly growing industry."

The center will be the home of research facilities that will design the future generations of sensors, making everything from automobiles, surgical devices, home appliances and a host of other devices safer and more useful.

"This is a unique opportunity for Florida," said M.J. Soileau, vice president for research & commercialization at UCF. "We are already working diligently to attract the highest-caliber research and development talent to help this consortium meet the needs of high-tech industry in Florida."

UCF and Florida High Tech Corridor Council will each provide $1 million to support administration and marketing of the R&D Center to potential users.

"The Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, a partnership between Osceola County, UCF and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, is a great example of a team effort to be a leader in adding research, manufacturing and other high-tech, high-wage jobs in the region and our state. It is an opportunity to see and be part of Florida's future," said Randy Berridge, president of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council."

Details of the agreement include:

  • The initial construction will include shell space for the ultimate 100,000 square foot facility and build-out of clean room, office/laboratory and support space based on the available project budget. It is anticipated that approximately one-third of the building will be built-out in the initial phase. Subsequent phases are dependent on the availability of additional funds.
  • The initial phase budget of $70 million breaks down as follows: (1) a Building Budget of $50 million for design and construction of the R&D Building, which will be funded from net proceeds bonds payable from the local government half-cent sales tax to be issued by the County (Sales Tax Bonds); (2) a Tools Budget of $11 million for acquisition and installation of specialized equipment for research and development (Tools), which shall be also funded from net proceeds of the Sales Tax Bonds; (3) a Flex Budget of $9 million funded by UCF.
  • The design and construction of the complete R&D Building will cost approximately $75 million with an additional $120 million for Tools and other project costs. The County and UCF will work together to secure the additional resources from National, State, and Regional governmental organizations and community partners. If and when additional resources are secured, the County and UCF have agreed to supplement the Development Agreement, as necessary, to establish a capital budget and provide for design and construction of improvements to the R&D Building and the acquisition and installation of additional Tools.

"This center provides our region with a leapfrog strategy for Florida's global competitive advantage in the research and development of next-generation universal smart sensors," said Rick Weddle, President and CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission. "Becoming a leader in advanced manufacturing with the establishment of this center and its related initiatives will help create more than 20,000 high-paying tech-oriented jobs over the next decade."

Topics: Advanced Manufacturing

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