SW Florida Collaboratory

SW Fl Tech exterior finalSOUTHWEST REGION
$10 million TOTAL PROJECT
$10 million FCLF FEDERAL NMTC ALLOCATION
Renovation and restoration of historic train station building
Offering low-cost office space to area nonprofits
286 Temporary and 20 Permanent Jobs

“A neighborhood that has been struggling will be transformed with state of the art technology, and nonprofits collaborating and designing in new ways.” – Sarah Owen, President & CEO, SW Florida Community Foundation


In Fort Myers, Florida, the former Atlantic Coast Train Station, a Spanish architectural-styled highlight of the 1920’s boom era, stood vacant for some time in Midtown Fort Myers. As part of the City’s CRA plan to bring new economic development to the Midtown and Dunbar neighborhoods, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation renovated and restored this historic train station. The resulting Southwest Florida Regional Technology Hub, known as The Collaboratory, is a 2-building, 24,000 sq-ft center providing collaborative office space for nonprofits and a state of the art technology hub that will be available to both residents and businesses.

Nonprofits on site will focus on economic and community development in the area, including housing, food security, and health disparities. Prospective tenants include the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Southwest Florida Community Development Corporation, Goodwill Foundation, Ft. Myers CRA, and Florida Gulf Coast University. In addition to affordable office space for up to 10 area companies, the project will also provide hot desks that can be shared by several entities, and access to a technology hub that will match 200 community residents to technology jobs in the downtown community. The Collaboratory is expected to create or retain 20 permanent jobs and 286 temporary construction jobs. Collaboration among the nonprofits located here will provide credit and home ownership counseling for 300 clients, as well as job training and employment counseling.

The Collaboratory 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. With land donated by 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.

Florida Community Loan Fund provided $10 million in federal NMTCs for the Tech Hub. U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation is investor on the project. Whitney-Hancock Bank provided additional financing. This transaction was finalized in December 2016.

Community Profile:

  • Fort Myers, Florida, Midtown CRA District
  • 52% of Area Median Income
  • 19% Unemployment Rate - 2.44x the national average
  • Brownfield, TIF District, Redevelopment Zone, HUB Zone 

Hear from Sarah Owen and learn more about the SW Florida Collaboratory in this video.

SW FL Collaboratory report pic

To download this information as a pdf file, click here.
For more information visit the SW Florida Community Foundation website, www.floridacommunity.com

Pictured above, the completed SW Florida Collaboratory and Technology Hub. Below, photo of existing building prior to renovation.

SW Fl Tech Hub building before renovations

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