Construction of a 29,320-square-foot, one-story building in the research park's third phase could start as early as 45 days from now, president Michael Fess, president told GrowthSpotter on Thursday.
Called Science One, the building will be constructed on 6.48 acres of now vacant land at 12930 Science Drive, next to Technology Parkway. The company plans to eventually build another 30,000-square-foot building on the same property.
Though he has yet to get all the necessary permits from Orange County, Fess said he has already put the development work out for bids. Three general contractors are vying for the contract, firms he declined to name. The engineering firm on the project is SK Consortium Inc. of Maitland.
Fess said he's taking a chance spending an estimated $5 million to $6 million to build a spec building with no tenant lined up. But he likes what the research park area has to offer, nestled on the southern edge of the University of Central Florida.
The 1,027-acre park has 126 companies, including many high-tech firms and defense contractors. Research park tenants can form relationships with the university that lead to technology transfer, research, faculty consultations, graduate and undergraduate internships and part-time employment programs.
"The university is definitely the big draw: good housing, as well as a great employee base for companies," Fess said. "The school is a huge plus."
The building will be built without an interior, Fess said. That way, tenants can choose individual floor plans to meet their needs. Without stairways or elevators, the floor plan is open and easier to design.
"We customize it for each tenant," Fess said. "We're in a position with a blank floor plan to give them exactly what they need."
Unlike many multi-tenant buildings, Science One will have no common areas. Each tenant will have their own entrance, lobby, restrooms and security. Ceilings in the new building will be high -- up to 18 feet.
The exterior of Challenger One, located at Challenger Parkway and the Alafaya Trail, was completed last month. Fess said he expects to have the interior completed and receive a certificate of occupancy from the county by Sept. 15. Cole Engineering Services Inc. has leased the entire 21,400-square-foot building.
Challenger One was Equity Partner's ninth one-story, Class A office building in the Orlando area. Others include Maitland Springs III in Altamonte Springs and Alafaya Corporate Center in Orlando. The corporate center, finished in 2005, has remained over 90 percent leased for the past 11 years, Fess said.
"We have a significant presence in the market, an understanding of the leasing velocity and how long it takes to get it leased," he said.
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