Innovation Square ‘going to happen,’ public told at unveiling

By Nathan Crabbe | The Gainesville Sun

The University of Florida on Monday publicly unveiled its master plan for the Innovation Square development and opened the project to public scrutiny for the first time.

The plan for the former Shands at AGH site and surrounding area includes facilities for science and technology research and established companies, along with places to eat, live and shop. The development is intended to attract businesses from outside the area and keep UF spinoffs within Gainesville.

“We have got to do something that’s going to keep those companies local … and not move away, taking those jobs with them,” said Ed Poppell, UF’s vice president for business affairs and economic development.

Poppell and project consultant David Green outlined the broad parameters of the plan, along with a few specifics. Some already have been announced, such as the Innovation Hub business incubator now being built on the AGH site.

An office building for existing science and technology companies and a UF dormitory for entrepreneurial-mined students are planned next door.

New proposals include a hotel and grocery store. A greenway would run from West University Avenue south to a new European-style public square and an expanded version of the existing Tumblin Creek Park. New streets would cross the AGH site, more landscaping would be planted, and parking garages would replace lots to encourage walking through the development.

Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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