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North Florida Innovation Labs is expanding its high-tech business incubator at Innovation Park

innovation lab rendering
Patrick Sternad
WFSU Public Media

Tallahassee’s science and high-tech business incubator is on the verge of expanding. The North Florida Innovation Lab will soon break down on a massive, 40,000 square foot research and laboratory building that can house new tech-based startups.

North Florida Innovation Labs is based in Tallahassee’s Innovation Park—but the park is under-used, and has never quite lived up to what creators envisioned when they developed it 50 years ago. The research park is situated between Florida State and Florida A&M University, and it was meant to bolster commercialization efforts at both schools—similar to the famed Research Triangle in North Carolina.

County Commissioner Kristin Dozier says that potential is still there and the expansion of North Florida Innovation labs through the addition of more space, could pave the way for more high-tech businesses to locate in the area.

“We’re already hearing from companies from around the state that are ready to move into this new space," she said.

Dozier calls the incubator the missing link in getting university research to the commercial market.

North Florida Innovation Labs already runs an incubator at the park. Some companies are leasing space through the lab at the Collins Building, but there’s not enough of it for companies seeking to expand. In the past, says Dozier, the area has lost businesses to other cities.

“This is a type of facility that we’ve never had in North Florida. We have lost companies to other cities, and this is going to retain a lot of businesses and start-ups," she said of the expansion.

floor plan innovation lab
Patrick Sternad
WFSU Public Media
Blueprints for the new lab being built in Innovation park are on display in a lab at the Collins Building.

In the past, as companies outgrew the current lab, they would move to places like Gainesville and North Carolina. Yet, the research park in Gainesville is now full, giving Leon County and the city of Tallahassee an opportunity.

The funding for the expansion is coming through a $12 million federal grant with additional funding offered by the city and country governments as well as Florida State University.

Tallahassee is already home to another business incubator, DOMI Station. Dozier envisions the two incubators working together as a sort of feeder program for each other.