After sitting vacant for more than six years, Pensacola’s downtown technology campus could be ready for its first tenant.
Space Florida, the state’s aerospace economic development agency, has submitted plans to the City of Pensacola to build a four story, 70,000 square foot building at the 9-acre park.
Established by the legislature in 2006, Space Florida’s mission is to focus on aerospace economic development within the Sunshine State. The agency plans to lease a portion of the park and will be the owner and developer of the building.
It’s estimated the Space Florida building will provide office space for as many as 300 people for multiple tenants, who remain confidential according to Space Florida officials. The park is envisioned to eventually anchor more than 1,000 high-paying jobs.
“This is just one more step in developing this project,” said Scott Luth, CEO of FloridaWest, the economic development arm that’s led the build out of the tech campus.
“This is a project we’ve been negotiating for several years now and we’re extremely excited to be moving forward,” Luth said. “In the coming months we expect to see a groundbreaking, which will set the stage for more developers to come on board.”
Pensacola architectural firm Caldwell Associates Architects was chosen to design the building. A general contractor has yet to be selected for the initial building.
Phase one of the park’s development includes the construction of the proposed four-story building, along with a planned 500-space, five-story parking garage adjacent to the Space Florida building to support future development along East Salamanca Street. Later phases include further development of a second garage, an office tower and several other office buildings.
The master plan for the park calls for the development of up to 1.6 million square feet of Class A office space. According to planning documents, the site has an existing master stormwater pond on a site south of the property that will accommodate the planned developments.
Vacant since opening in 2011, the park ran into major hurdles in attracting tenants to build out the property. The park was funded through a $2 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration with the vision to bring at least 650 information technology jobs to the campus. Since its creation, officials have redirected their focus to attracting aerospace industry jobs to the park.
The Technology Campus is located on land donated by the city of Pensacola and Escambia County. The Pensacola-Escambia Development Commission holds the title to the park property.
The City of Pensacola’s Gateway Review Board will vote on the proposed building at next month’s meeting on Tues., March 8.