Marion County commissions voted unanimously Tuesday to give approval to an agreement for a science and technology park.
Tuesday’s vote is the final confirmation of a developer’s agreement the commission originally approved in April. The project was recently refinanced, and this new approval places Marion County first in line to recoup any funds should the project go into default, according to the Ocala Star-Banner.
The first phase of the park will be located in a 150-acre area near I-75 and County Road 318.
The Star-Banner’s story cited some details from the agreement:
Under the agreement, Siemens can build up to 258 units of apartments and townhouses on 32 acres, use 10 acres for a 220-room hotel, set aside 13 acres for 100,000 square feet of commercial or retail space such as a grocery store and establish a research and development center covering up to 950,000 square feet on 97 acres.
Scott Siemens, project director, said that this type of agreement is standard for developments like this.
“In many municipalities, when a land-use change is approved, there are quite often conditions of approval,” he said.
The park with be a “live, work, play campus,” said Siemens.
Siemens plans for the park to bring higher-paying science and technology jobs to Central Florida.
The Siemens Group chose the specific area of land because of its location and ability to benefit Alachua, Levy and Marion counties, said Siemens. The group is also based in Marion County.
Now that the agreement has been reached with county commissioners, the developer will meet with zoning and planning officials. Siemens said the land-use change only allows what has been agreed
on in the approval, but still has to go through an engineering approval project.
Siemens said this could take a year, but hopes to speed up the process. He would like to go through the permitting process and simultaneously design the buildings, which could cut the time down to four months.
“We are ready and willing – as well as Marion County – to fast-track what we would have to do for any potential client that comes along,” he said.