Courtesy Trimark Properties’ Staff
Previously an active medical center, Ayers Technology Plaza is finding new life in the core of the University of Florida’s Innovation Square. Companies hoping to be a part of the development and growth in the Innovation Square science and technology community see Ayers as a strategic location.
“We believe Innovation Square is going to be the main focus of growth in Gainesville,” said Apryl Ponikvar, principle of Ponikvar & Associates. Architect group Ponikvar & Associates is one of several companies to move into the newly repurposed Ayers Technology Center in an effort to be closer to their target consumer. “We want to position ourselves to be able to respond quickly.”
Ayers Technology Plaza is located 3 blocks east of the University of Florida campus and consists of two towers with a conjoining atrium. The towers are each 5 stories tall and together hold 110,000 square feet of open space. Companies like Ponikvar & Associates and MindTree Ltd. have renovated office space in Ayers to be a part of developments in Innovation Square and to reflect the area’s high-tech, modern environment.
Following the demolition of Alachua General Hospital in fall 2009, the University of Florida gained access to prime commercial real estate just two blocks east of campus. That is when the idea for Innovation Square became a reality, a 40-acre community dedicated to collaboration, discovery, and an enhanced quality of life. Ayers Technology Plaza continues to be revitalized as a core building within the Innovation Square community.
UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) was another organization to move to Ayers Technology Plaza after the building was repurposed. BEBR is an entity that provides economic analysis, population studies, and survey research for companies in Gainesville. Following the success of its survey research division in Ayers, BEBR plans to relocate its other departments by expanding its space in the building’s North tower.
“It made more sense for us to be in Ayers than on campus,” said Dr. Christopher McCarty, director of UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “At Innovation Square, we can maintain our ties with the departments and centers at the University of Florida, and simultaneously increase our interactions with private companies at Innovation Square.”
BEBR is one of several Innovation Square companies that have employed Ponikvar & Associates to provide design services for its expansion. Construction is currently underway for BEBR’s additional space in Ayers Technology Plaza, which once housed a cafeteria.
Neighboring Ponikvar & Associates, MindTree, and BEBR in Ayers will be the building’s newest tenant, Floridian law firm GrayRobinson. The company chose Gainesville for its newest office when it saw Ayers as a place to grow within Innovation Square.
“GrayRobinson is interested in becoming more involved in the growing technology community developing in Innovation Square,” said Pallas Knight, Business Development Director at GrayRobinson Law Firm. “With the ability to tailor the space through renovation based on our future needs, Ayers allows us to grow with Innovation Square.”
Ayers Technology Plaza can serve as a stepping stone for companies still determining their office space long-term needs. As a transitioning stage, companies moving to Ayers can be close to the University of Florida and Innovation Square while still planning their future Innovation Square building or expansion within Ayers.
Ayers Technology Plaza’s revitalization indicates a growing Innovation Square, and a Gainesville economy that is on the rise.