Orlando City Commissioners approved a $2.5 million transfer in state funds to Florida Hospital Monday to build a life sciences research incubator in Lake Nona.
The commissioners unanimously approved the transfer with no discussion and no opposition. The funds were part of $5 million in funding the hospital received four years ago to build research incubators at Florida Hospital Health Village and Lake Nona. Neither was built and the contract runs out June 30.
Hospital officials requested the money be used to build one incubator in the Guidewell Innovation Center at Lake Nona Medical City. The University of Central Florida will operate the incubator and recruit companies that will bring high-wage jobs to the area, according to city documents.
The incubator will be located next door to the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, which was given $350 million in taxpayer-funded incentives to expand its research to Lake Nona in 2008. They failed to deliver the promised 303 new jobs and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity asked for part of the money back last year. The institute said they couldn’t afford to stay in Florida because of financial losses suffered during the recession, declining federal research dollars and the loss of incentive funds.