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County to review $14.7M building contract for Tampa Bay Innovation Center

Veronica Brezina

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The Tampa Bay Innovation Center will be located at the southwest corner of 4th Street South and 11th Avenue South. All renderings provided.

The Pinellas County Commission is expected to review a $14.7 million contract with a construction firm to build the new Tampa Bay Innovation Center. 

The center, which aims to help entrepreneurs and boost the startup activity in the region, will be the first of its kind in Pinellas County. It will be located on 2.5 acres of city-donated land at 4th Street and 11th Avenue South in the Innovation District.

A rendering of Tampa Bay Innovation Center at 4th Street South and 11th Avenue South. 

Pinellas County received five bids from contractors vying to enter a contract with the county to build the two-story, 45,000-square-foot center. 

Dunedin-based Bandes Construction Company Inc. was recommended for the award as the lowest bidder. The contract amount would be $14,706,448. The board will review the bid and contract terms Tuesday. 

The other four bids submitted were the following, according to county documents: 

  • Trias Construction LLC: Roughly $15.16 million
  • David Nelson Construction Co.: Roughly $15.66 million 
  • LEMA Construction and Developers Inc.: Roughly $16.1 million 
  • Manhattan Construction Company: Roughly $16.2 million 

Bandes Construction has worked on a wide range of projects in Tampa Bay from retail to multifamily, restaurants and government and medical buildings. 

The firm’s portfolio of projects and clients include Hyde Park Village in Tampa, the Surf Style retail store in Treasure Island, Tampa Bay Brewing Company, the Bayfront Tower condominiums in St. Petersburg, the Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority’s facility. 

The county officials and Innovation Center leaders hope construction starts in 2022 and they expect the center to be completed by July 2023. 

The county’s SBE (Small Business Enterprise) qualified firms have been provided to Bandes and their participation is encouraged throughout the construction of the project, according to county documents. 

The entire project is estimated to cost $15.87 million. 

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has committed to providing nearly $11.26 million. The center also received $2 million from investor Cathie Wood for naming rights for the center.  

Inside, there will be approximately 30,000 square feet of client space, plus co-working/collaboration space, offices and a conference/community room.  

The other floor will be for Wood’s company, ARK, as it’s the anchor tenant – and another tenant which has not yet been named. 

During a recent public meeting, officials said the offices in the center will be marketed at Class A rates; however, there could be potential for subsidizing and that entrepreneurs can still attend programs without needing to rent space. 

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