Young-Rainey STAR Center
Location: 11400 Bryan Dairy Road, unincorporated Pinellas
Redevelopment District: Largo
Project Type: Rehabilitation/reuse, brownfield redevelopment
Description: In 1994, the U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE) closed its Pinellas Plant, a local facility that produced nuclear
weapons components. Some 1,400 highly skilled workers lost their jobs,
and the county lost a major catalyst for local high-tech industry. The
community was left with a vacant 96 acre site that included some environmental
contamination, making redevelopment to other uses difficult. To address
these issues, a public-private coalition called the Pinellas Plant Community
Reuse Organization (CRO) was formed.
With participation by the DOE, local governments, and business and community
representatives, the CRO oversaw the facility's transition from an obsolete
military facility to a modern high-tech industry campus. Pinellas County
agreed to take ownership of the property, which was renamed the Pinellas
Science, Technology, and Research (STAR) Center. The DOE contributed
$23 million to remediate and upgrade the facility, train displaced workers,
and recruit private-sector tenants. An incubator for new businesses,
the STAR Technology Enterprise Center, was also created with assistance
from Pinellas County and the Florida
High Tech Corridor Council.
Today more than 20 technology-related businesses reside at the complex,
in fields as diverse as engineering, marine science, forensics, and homeland
security. More than 3,000 jobs were retained or created, and another
700 are planned. The DOE has recently awarded Pinellas County an additional
$1.5 million grant to continue upgrading the facility.
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