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Belgian tech leader imec opens downtown Kissimmee office

Belgian tech leader imec opens downtown Kissimmee office
A preliminary rendering of the newly renamed "Florida Tech Farm" features a large boardwalk and feature bridge connecting the office buildings to the public space. Designers from Perkins + Will met with imec officials in early June. (Perkins + Will)

Belgium-based imec, a global leader in nanoelectronics research and development, has set up shop in downtown Kissimmee, according to papers filed with the Florida Department of State.

Long-rumored to be the anchor tenant that would put Osceola County's new tech research park on the map, imec meets every definition of the county's mysterious partner dubbed "Project Nano."

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In late May, Osceola Commissioners voted to invest $15 million over the next five years into creating a design center with the International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research (ICAMR) that would be led by "Nano."

A week earlier, the nonprofit IMEC USA Nanoelectronics Design Center, Inc. filed its articles of incorporation with the same Kissimmee business address as ICAMR's headquarters.

The Orlando Sentinel first reported in December that ICAMR had signed a memorandum of understanding with imec to explore a more formal relationship, citing M.J. Soileau, vice president of research and commercialization at UCF.

The Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center in Kissimmee, shown in the rendering, will open in March 2017.
The Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center in Kissimmee, shown in the rendering, will open in March 2017. (Osceola County)

County and ICAMR officials have declined to confirm that Project Nano is, in fact, imec. But they are scheduling a press conference July 8 to unveil the name of the company.

Imec was among the list of companies that met privately in early June with the design team from Perkins+Will, which is drafting a master plan for the 500-acre research park on the former Judge Farms site.

Anchored by the $130 million Florida Advanced Manufactoring Research Center now under construction, the research park now has a working name: Florida Tech Farm.

The preliminary master plan introduces the site on E192, across from Osceola Heritage Park, as a "fertile environment where the seeds of ideas are planted, cultivated and nurtured." The mixed-use project would be designed around a man-made lake surrounded by trails and boardwalks.

A conceptual master plan for the Florida Tech Farm shows a large lake with peninsula, a new main street, public parks and a secure zone for the FAMRC.
A conceptual master plan for the Florida Tech Farm shows a large lake with peninsula, a new main street, public parks and a secure zone for the FAMRC. (Perkins + Will)

A signature bridge would connect the offices to the lakefront amenities, and a new Main Street district through the heart of the property would move activity away from E192.

Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in the Netherlands, Taiwan, United States, China, India and Japan. Its staff of about 2,400 people includes almost 700 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2015, imec's revenue totaled EUR 415 million (US$ 461.9 million).

Imec USA's named purpose is to establish "local and worldwide research projects and partnerships requiring new design solutions for photonics and high-speed electronics," and to assist the county and surrounding area in economic development "by attracting the nanoelectronics industry and related industries to Osceola County."

The initial board of directors is composed of three members: imec CEO Luc Van den hov, executive vice president and CFO Filip Merckx, and Ludo Deferm, executive vice president for Corporate, Business and Public Affairs.

Imec researchers have collaborated in the development of sensor technology for everything from solar cells, to quantum computing, to driverless cars and wearable fitness trackers.

Last year, imec executives, scientists and researchers published 998 prominent scientific papers and filed a record number of 180 European patents, underscoring their thought leadership on nanoelectronics and its applications topics.

Later this month, imec officials will be in San Francisco, where three researchers will present at the SEMICON West advanced manufacturing forum. An Steegen, senior vice president for Process Technology, is one of the featured speakers.

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Imec will also host a six-hour invitation-only technology forum on the first day of the conference.

ICAMR is exhibiting at the conference, along with the University of Central Florida and Enterprise Florida.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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