On Monday, the Lakeland City Commission will propose changes to the structure of the city’s exposure fee to allow 100 percent discounts for high-paying “target” businesses moving to the proposed 4,484-acre “innovation district” in the northeastern part of the city’s college. Florida. university.
Innovative areas stimulate the creation of high-wage jobs in “modern mixed-use places for living, working and communicating,” according to a study conducted in March 2020 on behalf of the Central Florida Development Council, and are relatively new in addition to urban planners. tool boxes. The city of Tampa has created an innovation area of 19 square miles around the University of South Florida in 2019.
According to the study, innovation districts are “reforming the economy by choosing and reassigning places for cooperation instead of building separate empires”. “This form of development is intertwined with reconstruction and the economy in a way that can redesign land that is slowly evolving. “The idea of an ‘innovation district’ helps to combine employment with denser housing, public transport and creativity is one of the trends that will not diminish in the near future.”
The Development Council has approved research to determine how best to create and harmonize innovation areas in Polk County, Lakeland and Oberndale.
Planners have been researching locations and conditions for innovation areas for at least three years.
Lakeland’s proposed innovation district will be divided into four adjacent components:
- The 578.4-acre health and technology district is bordered by I-4 in the north, State Road 33 in the west and covers both sides of University Boulevard.
- The 1295-acre District of Information Science and Engineering, also covered by University Boulevard and bordered by I-4 to the north with Polk Parkway to the east.
- The production area is 1,100 acres between Polk Parkway in the west and the city boundary in the east.
- The 1,511-acre area of mobility and innovation is south of Pace Road and is framed by Polk Parkway in the west and Berkeley Road in the east, near Florida Polly and the adjacent automated car testing center SunTrax.
By 2019, nearly 2,500 acres in the proposed innovation area had been incorporated into the Williams Development of Regional Impact, which covered the mined area and was disbanded in May 2019.
Up to 250,000 square feet of industrial development is possible in an area with “modern production as the largest allowable use regardless of land use”, according to a study which notes that there are also a number of environmental constraints … consisting of wetlands , conservation / conservation areas and bordering the Green Swamp ”.
On Monday, the commissioners will be presented with the proposed changes to the city’s program to reduce the impact of development fees, which will be applied to relevant enterprises within the proposed four-section “target zone of innovation area” of 4484 hectares.
According to planners, the city’s program reduces exposure fees, “to stimulate high wages and quality industrial jobs,” and “designed to encourage the development of ‘Build on Need’ and ‘Speculative Construction.’
The program has three levels. Level 1 is a 50% discount for businesses that create 10 to 50 jobs at 115% of the county’s average wage; Level 2 is a 70% discount for companies that create 51 to 100 jobs above average; Level 3 is a 90% discount for companies that create 101 or more jobs with an average salary of 115%.
To be eligible for the program, a “Qualified Targeted Industrial Business (QTI)” must be a “Building Project to Fit” and create 10 or more new jobs with an average salary of 115% or more of the average salary of Polk County and keep the business and jobs focus on wages for at least two years. A “Building According to a Project” project that will create or maintain 100 or more non-QTI jobs may also be eligible.
Within the Innovation Area, businesses that create at least 10 permanent jobs at or above 150% of the average wage in Polk County will receive a 100% discount on contributions, according to the proposal.
Among the proposed changes is that the owner of the property on which QTI Business is located and leased may be eligible to participate in the EDIFM program, although “not both” are eligible.
Another proposed amendment would apply a 50 percent reduction in exposure fees only to wholesale or warehouse space of less than 400,000 square feet. For wholesale and use of warehouse space is not eligible for iImpact fee reduction in the proposed innovation area.