Medical isotope manufacturer nears decision on Alachua location

Keep your fingers crossed – Alachua may be going nuclear in a big way. The use of nuclear medicine has exploded in recent decades, due to the breakneck speed of scientific discovery within the subject. Particularly in the field of radiopharmacology, which is the use of radioactive materials in pharmaceuticals, where the medical isotope Technicium-99m is crucial. However, this isotope, which is derived from Molybdenum-99, is not currently produced anywhere in the United States. U.S. medical facilities must rely on unreliable international suppliers to obtain the isotope. This alarming fact has many industry experts worried about a possible shortage of this essential tool, used daily in 16.7 million medical procedures. Hopefully, Coquí will bring their expertise to Alachua.. 

According to a press release, Coquí is looking to construct two research-scale nuclear reactors to produce Technicium-99m and prevent an international shortage of the lifesaving isotope. Among the potential sites under consideration by Coquí is an Alachua site owned by the University of Florida, adjacent to Progress Park. If Alachua is selected, Coquí will bring up to 164 jobs with an average salary of $75,500 in addition to nearly $228 million in capital investment to Alachua. The company is currently in the process of conducting environmental impact studies for Alachua and competing locations. Among those to thank for the interest in the greater Gainesville area from high tech ventures like Coquí is the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, which has been instrumental in attracting these high powered businesses. 


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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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