GRU set to move into GTEC


Published: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 13, 2003 at 10:32 p.m.
Gainesville Regional Utilities will be the newest tenant at the Technology Enterprise Center of Gainesville/Alachua County, an incubator building on Hawthorne road for start-up, tech-based businesses.
GRU is expected to occupy 4,000 square feet on the GTEC building's second floor where its former main tenant, Cenetec Ventures LLC, leased space. Although GRU is not in the fledgling vein of GTEC's residing businesses, the presence of an established anchor tenant isn't uncommon in incubator facilities around the country, GTEC's director Morris Windhorst said.
"Most incubators have the anchor tenant to stabilize the overall operations," Windhorst said. "When you have start-up companies that are expanding and contracting at all times, it's nice to have a stable operator, especially since most of these new businesses are working on month-to-month leases."
GRU will move 23 employees from its applications development department to the GTEC building, where it is expected to lease space for between three and five years, GRU's interim system planning director David Richardson said. The applications development department handles GRU's information systems, and maintains the utility company's billing system, inventory and work order database.
GRU has future plans to build office space at its headquarters to accommodate the company's growth, and the GTEC lease will be seen as a temporary solution to the cramped quarters, Richardson said.
"We have space needs that we can't meet in our existing building," he said. "This is an interim way to meet those needs."
The GTEC facility opened in April 2001 to provide a physical location for some of the region's newest tech-based companies. Boca Raton-based Cenetec was the facility's original anchor tenant and occupied most of the second floor.
Cenetec was a business consulting firm that had contracts with two GTEC tenants, ICU Datasystems and MarCon Global Data Solutions Inc. Those companies are still active at the GTEC building, but Cenetec's failure to sign deals with additional local clients led to its departure from the facility in August 2002.
Since then, GTEC officials have been searching for a primary tenant to join the facility's 10 start-up businesses and variety of economic development agencies that lease space in the building. The city, which maintains the GTEC facility and operates GRU, will receive annual lease payments of $48,000 from GRU and the money will be deposited in the city's general fund.
GRU's lease begins on Feb. 1, and with the utility company's arrival, the GTEC building is now 70 percent occupied, Windhorst said. Apart from the small business tenants, other renters at GTEC include local offices of Enterprise North Florida Corp. and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Joe Coombs can be reached at (352) 338-3102 or coombsj@gvillesun.com.

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