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Mid-town Pensacola is The Heart of Pensacola Prosperity. It is a great place to plant an innovation district. It is centrally located in Escambia County, FL. and enjoys several geographic designations that can be advantageous to land developers, investors and businesses.

IT IS IN AN OPPORTUNITY ZONE!

Opportunity Zones are a new community development program established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide. The Opportunity Zones program provides a tax incentive for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Funds that are dedicated to investing into Opportunity Zones

The area in green is the primary Opportunity Zone impacting the proposed Innovation District. There are also two additional Opportunity Zones depicted in gray in the illustration.

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MIDTOWN COMMERCE PARK AND OPPORTUNITY ZONE WORKING TOGETHER

The Innovation District embraces and extends the published plans for the redevelopment of the Escambia Treating Superfund site which is also known as the Midtown Commerce park (shown below). Jointly developing the midtown commerce park on the east side of Palafox Street (Hwy 29) and the Opportunity Zone on the west side of Palafox gives Pensacola a unique opportunity to transform the Gateway to beautiful downtown Pensacola from a blighted area to a vibrant business area. Here is a 2003 Economic Impact Analysis prepared by the Haas Center at the University of West Florida.

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IT IS IN A NEW MARKET TAX CREDIT AREA

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The New Market Tax Credit Program attracts private capital into low-income communities by permitting individual and corporate investors to receive a tax credit against their federal income tax in exchange for making equity investments in specialized financial intermediaries called Community Development Entities (CDEs).

The area in blue is the NMTC area, the orange arrow points to the location of the proposed Innovation District.

IT IS IN A COUNTY REDEVELOPMENT ZONE

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The Palafox Redevelopment District was adopted by the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners in 2000 pursuant to ordinance number 2000-17. The ordinance was amended during 2001, 2003 and 2010 pursuant to ordinance numbers 2001-21, 2003-56, and R2010-205 which revised the boundary description of the Palafox district. Currently, the district covers an urban area of approximately 3.6 square miles consisting of high density mixed uses and abuts the Oakfield Redevelopment District to the north, and the Brownsville and Englewood Redevelopment Districts to the southwest and southeast, respectively.

Palafox is home to Pensacola’s first premier shopping center, the Town and Country Plaza, located off Fairfield Avenue and North Pace Boulevard. This expansive development was established in 1956 and expanded to include a five-story office tower during in early 1970s. The Town and Country Plaza remains in operation today, and continues to feature a variety of retail and office uses. The Palafox district offers a truly mixed commercial climate featuring strong retail, industrial and commercial uses and is served by four major commercial corridors which include Michigan Avenue-Beverly Parkway-Brent Lane, Massachusetts Avenue, North Pace Boulevard and North Palafox Street.

In addition to the district’s commercial and industrial assets, Palafox is home to a several prominent residential communities and features a variety of parks and community centers including Brent Athletic Park, Brentwood Park, Bristol Park and the Dorrie Miller Park and Community Center.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, IT IS IN A HUB ZONE

HUBZone is a company level diversity certification referring to the Historically Underutilized Business Zone program that helps small businesses located in distressed areas gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. The HUBZone program is in place to increase employment opportunities, investment and economic development in these areas. 

THE BEGINNING

Scroll down this page to learn more about the beginning of the Innovation District, some of our ideas for the future to make it attractive and useful for both current innovators and generations of innovators to come followed by how to make it happen and finally some reference links

In addition, Socialdesk has undertaken the responsibility to keep Herman Street and L Street very clean and litter free everyday, day light or twilight, warm or cold, sunny or rainy, work-day or holiday - we are diligent to help "Make Mid-town Beautiful"! Please join us where you work or live - litter-free is beautiful.

Socialdesk has chosen to locate in mid-town Pensacola to help start the process of revitalization. In addition to renovating an abandoned building we have opened a coworking and shared office space to provide professional and low-cost workspaces to the entrepreneurs and innovators in our area.

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IDEAS FOR THE FUTURE

The following are some ideas being considered for the mid-town Innovation District. All of these ideas can be privately funded or public/private partnerships.

BETTER ACCESSIBILITY

Connectivity is one of the keys to an Innovation District. Mid-town Pensacola is the home of Escambia County Area Transit (ECAT) so all buses in the County come to the District. This means that employment opportunities are open to all residents, no matter where they live or their access to transportation.

Another important key is bike-ability, this means not only within the district itself, but includes well-defined, continuous and safe bicycle commuting routes as depicted in the graphic to the right.

TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE

All of the buildings in the Innovation District will be inter-connected with fiber-optics that will allow extremely high-speed, low-latency access to the community data center and sharing of Internet access. The entire district will also provide comprehensive wifi and be ready for 5G and small cell deployments.

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Increasingly businesses of all sizes are creating, storing and using ever greater volumes of data. Many businesses use computer servers that are housed in their offices, in a closet, without reliable back-up power or cooling and others are using various cloud services with their pay as you go pricing. Both options have benefits and problems. Some communities are offering community data centers that deliver the best of both worlds. A community data center can provide both physical access to co-hosted equipment and extremely high-speed network access when coupled with a community fiber-optic network. On the other hand, it can provide the redundant electrical power and cooling and professional management you get when using a cloud service.

This technology infrastructure will make the innovation district a great place to implement IoT (Internet-of-things) deployment testbeds and production environments.

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READY FOR INDUSTRY 4.0

Midtown Pensacola is ready to become the home of Industry 4.0. Pensacola has always stepped up to lead in each of the industrial eras and Industry 4.0 will not be an exception.

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