NMTC Project looks to the future of the community.
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation celebrated the opening of the Fort Myers Collaboratory on October 21 with a community celebration and tours of the building. The Collaboratory and regional tech hub will provide a space for ideas for social, economic, and sustainable change to be born and fostered.
The Collaboratory building was formerly the Fort Myers railroad depot. The transformation of the facility maintained the historic portion of the train station building while adding 15,000 square feet of new construction. In addition to housing the offices of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the Collaboratory offers meeting and tenant spaces with a focus on high-tech and low costs for area nonprofits.
The project was funded through the Federal New Markets Tax Credit program, with Florida Community Loan Fund providing $10 million in tax credit allocation. The NMTC program was created to encourage investment and jobs creation in very low-income communities. The Collaboratory Tech Hub project is an important part of the City of Fort Myers Redevelopment Plan as it creates productive use for 3 acres of formerly nonperforming and designated Brownfield land in the Fort Myers CRA Downtown District. Under a long-term lease with the City of Fort Myers, the project is a catalyst for new development to bridge the divide between the traditional downtown and the Dunbar community, which has suffered from a lack of investment.