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In downtown St. Petersburg, a business incubator will open in St. Petersburg College facility

Published Apr. 16, 2014

A business incubator will open in downtown St. Petersburg later this year in space leased in St. Petersburg College's downtown facility.

Dr. Kevin Gordon, who runs SPC's downtown campus, confirmed that a planned incubator will occupy more than 6,000 square feet on the ground floor of the SPC building at 244 Second Ave. N in space once used by the former Florida International Museum.

The incubator will be called TEC Garage St. Petersburg — TEC being short for Technology Entrepreneurship Center — and operate on at least a three-year lease. It will be run by the staff of Largo's well-established incubator known as the Tampa Bay Innovation Center. TEC Garage will be funded by $400,000 set aside by state legislators last year and used to build out the now-empty space at St. Petersburg College.

Innovation Center CEO Tonya Elmore, who has spearheaded the incubator push into downtown St. Petersburg, said TEC Garage is a smaller and near-term incubator that she hopes will eventually complement a larger and permanent downtown facility. She estimates TEC Garage could open by September and accommodate 15 to 30 startups depending on their size.

A search for a downtown building site for the larger, 40,000-square-foot incubator that would include "wet labs" to accommodate biotech businesses is ongoing. Elmore said fundraising efforts for that project are already under way.

Robert Trigaux can be reached at rtrigaux@tampabay.com.

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