Board clears Santa Fe College to manage city's GTEC incubator

As of Feb. 1 Santa Fe has control of the city-owned Gainesville Technology Enterprise Center Business incubator. Santa Fe has helped 110 start up companies over the passed five years, and the agreement with the city will pay them $150,000 over the next five years.

Staff report

Published: Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:51 p.m.

Last Modified: Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:51 p.m.

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Santa Fe College's district board of trustees on Tuesday approved an agreement for Santa Fe to manage the city-owned Gainesville Technology Enterprise Center business incubator starting Feb. 1, following approval last month by the Gainesville City Commission.

Santa Fe has helped 110 startup companies through its 2,500-square-foot Center for Innovation and Economic Development that opened at its downtown Blount Center five years ago. GTEC gives the college 30,000 square feet of space to expand service to startup companies with an emphasis on technology and light manufacturing, according to a news release.

GTEC opened at 2153 Hawthorne Road in eastern Gainesville in 2003 and was managed by the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce until the Chamber ended that agreement in 2011. The Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency took over operations in the interim. The CRA is planning to develop surrounding parcels owned by the city for office and retail.

The city will pay Santa Fe $150,000 over five years through the agreement.

Through a partnership with Florida Tech Toybox Inc., Santa Fe says it plans to add a prototyping lab for entrepreneurs to test ideas.

GTEC will be renamed the Gainesville Technology Entrepreneurship Center.

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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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