BioFlorida Celebration of Biotechnology shines a light on the future of the City of Alachua

Nancy Bryan, President and CEO of BioFlorida, welcomes attendees to the Celebration of Biotechnology


BioFlorida held its Celebration of Biotechnology today behind the new AGTC buildings on US Hwy 441 in Alachua, just across from Progress Park, highlighting the future plans for the area that will be known as the Progress District. The Celebration was the first since 2019.

History of the Progress District

The Progress Park area on U.S. Hwy 441 that will now be part of the Progress District was initially developed in 1985, with more buildings constructed in 1988 and the Sid Martin Biotech Incubator arriving in 1994. In 2000, Innovation Partners acquired Progress Park, and RTI began the expansion of what would become a 170,000 square foot campus. The Oragenics Facility was built in 2002, and Progress One, which was immediately filled by Nanotherapeutics, Novabone, AGI, and the University of Florida, was built in 2004.

Progress Two and Three were started in 2007 and immediately filled with RTI, Novabone, and Web MD. In 2008, development paused during the Great Recession, and the park was sold to SNH Medical Offices Properties Trust in 2011. Nanotherapeutics began expanding to 170,000 square feet at Copeland Park on Rachael Boulevard in 2013, and Concept Companies built the AGTC building across 441 in 2015 in Foundation Park. The Santa Fe College Perry Center, which opened in 2009, is also across 441 from Progress Park.

In 2016, Concept entitled nearly 120,000 square feet of commercial lab space with three buildings at Foundation Park, and the company entitled another 13,000 square feet at Copeland Park to accommodate smaller companies that graduate from the incubator. In 2019, Thermo Fisher acquired Brammer Bio, and Thermo Fisher continues to grow in the area. Concept Companies also built a facility at Copeland Park for Lacerta Therapeutics in 2019.

Since 2020, Concept Companies has been expanding Resilience at Copeland Park, and in 2021, Concept Companies and Roberts Companies acquired Progress Park 1, 2, and 3 and assumed development rights. The locations of Copeland Park, Foundation Park, and Progress Park can be seen on the map below.

Progress Park, one of Florida’s largest biotech clusters, is now home to 35 companies and over 1,100 employees.

Looking to the future

Concept Companies provided a map showing the current buildings along with their future plans for the area, which will include The Convergence (currently in development) along the new road between CR 241 and San Felasco State Park to the west and Cellon Park, which will be built on US Hwy 441, about 2 miles to the east of Progress Park.

A video showing Concept Companies’ vision for The Convergence can be seen here. One scene from the video shows a park-like area surrounded by residential and retail space. The goal for The Convergence is 1,000 homes and 3 million square feet of commercial space for science and technology companies. Construction is underway for 273 houses, with 60,000 square feet of commercial space coming soon. They also plan to bring lifestyle-enhancing facilities that will be adjacent to San Felasco State Park entry, including a Bike Depot that will provide bike rentals and repairs, a conference center, and restaurants. The Convergence area will also include a hotel.

The McCall Park area, just to the east of the existing Progress Park, will include an RV/Camping Area and an equestrian park, with the goal of attracting ecotourists who will come to visit San Felasco State Park and stay overnight or for a weekend.

Topping off

The Celebration concluded with a topping-off ceremony for AGTC’s new building, with an opportunity for AGTC employees and people who had worked on the building to sign a beam. The building is 21,000 square feet, with the ability to expand it to 42,000 square feet. AGTC currently has 110 employees at Foundation Park.

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