When the shovels dug into the 68 acres of dirt slated to become home to Creative Village Thursday afternoon, the ceremony's attendees' attention focused on the buildings that will rise vertically from the earth -- college campuses, spaces designed to foster creativity and innovation, apartments and offices.
But before any building foundation is poured, Balfour Beatty Construction is installing underground veins that will deliver a lifeblood for creativity into the development – simple pipes that will eventually hold high-tech communications cables internally connecting the development's buildings and externally to the world. Balfour's portion of the budget is $12 million.
"The project is the backbone for the Creative Village Development," said Philip Davis, a project manager at Balfour Beatty. The size and type of the conduit is specified by Brighthouse, AT&T, OUC Electric, and Level 3 Communications, he said.
"We are trying to create essentially a plug and play (communications) environment with no limits," Craig Ustler, Creative Village's developer, said to GrowthSpotter.
In addition to the underground work, Balfour Beatty is also putting in roadways, including a lane dedicated to the LYNX bus rapid transit line connecting the project and Parramore to the LYNX Central Station downtown. New signalization for the bus rapid transit lane is also planned along with bus benches themed to the community.
A $10 million federal grant to LYNX is paying for the infrastructure work. As the groundbreaking occurred, The University of Central Florida/Valencia College's request for state money to build a joint-venture downtown campus building remains in limbo until June when the Florida Legislature meets in a special session to create its budget.
"Everybody is committed and everybody is hopeful" the project will gain the funds, Ustler said.