University of Central Florida (UCF) approved for Sanford Burnham asset takeover

 

Good morning, Orlando.

The University of Central Florida  () took one step closer to taking over the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute’s assets in Lake Nona’s .

The public research university got unanimous approval during the Aug. 20 Orlando City Council meeting to take over the 175,000-square-foot facility. The Orange County Board of County Commissioners and the UCF board of trustees next need to sign off on the agreements, both expected to happen on Aug. 21. The Sanford Burnham board approved the exchange Aug. 14. according to Sanford Burnham spokeswoman Susan Gammon.

UCF would close the deal on Aug. 27, with Sanford Burnham occupying the building until Nov. 30 in accordance with a lease agreement separate from the funding partners, according to Gammon. The city had presented a timeline during its meeting where UCF would close on the facility by Sept. 1. The university would begin conducting research there by March 1, 2019.

The proposed deal would have UCF paying Orange County, the city, and Lake Nona Land Co. LLC, an entity of Development Co., a total of $50 million over a period not to exceed 30 years, according to city documents. The university is set to pay $2 million per year over the first 20 years to the three funding partners proportionally to their involvement and $1 million per year over the last 10 years.

The center will create 302 high-wage jobs, with salaries ranging from $60,000 to $600,000, and has the potential to retain some Sanford Burnham researchers.

In 2006, the state approved more than $155 million to incentivize the Sanford Burnham institute’s expansion to Florida and required a match by local partners at least equal to that amount, making the total economic package in excess of $300 million committed by Orange County, the city of Orlando and Lake Nona Land Co. Lake Nona developer Tavistock Group had committed $17.6 million as part of the deal, plus 12 acres.

The institute promised to create 303 jobs by the 10th year of operation. But since then, the facility has struggled as federal research grants became scarcer in recent years. By year 10, the institute had created 87 percent of the jobs it had promised.

Sanford Burnham announced in February it would return $12.3 million in state funds before it vacated the facility. Sanford Burnham previously told Orlando Business Journal the $12.3 million is comprised of $10.8 million of unused equipment funds in Sanford Burnham’s possession and $1.5 million in a state escrow account.