Cathie Wood of ARK Investment Management and local officials inaugurated the new ARK Innovation Center project in St. Petersburg, Florida. | Business Observer

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Pinellas County and St. Petersburg leaders, along with Cathie Wood, founder and CEO of ARK Investment Management, officially opened the 45,000-square-foot, $15.8 million ARK Innovation Center on Tuesday. of dollars.

The Wood Company, the latest to move from Manhattan to St. Pete, has contributed $2 million to the project, which is expected to open in July 2023. By 2026, officials say, the ARK Innovation Center – located at the intersection of 4th Street South and 11th Avenue South in St. Pete – will have created some $28 million in economic benefits and 1,265 jobs.

“This company is going to change the landscape on a global scale,” Cynthia Johnson, Pinellas County Director of Economic Development, said at Tuesday’s groundbreaking event. “Pinellas County is perfectly positioned to be America’s center of innovation, and St. Petersburg is its epicenter.”

St. Pete Mayor Ken Welch also spoke, calling the ARK Innovation Center “an excellent example of public-private partnership.” The City of St. Petersburg donated the 2.5-acre parcel to the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, the business accelerator and coworking center that will operate the facility once it is operational.

“This facility will be the first in Pinellas County to be purposely built as an incubator for entrepreneurs to thrive,” Welch said, adding that clients and graduates of ARK Innovation Center programs will create annual income. estimated at $127 million. “This is an exciting time for our city.”

Wood echoed the mayor’s sense of excitement, saying, “St. Pete understands better than Silicon Valley how promising new and evolving technologies are.

ARK Investment Management is known for its savvy bets on disruptive companies innovating in next-generation technology sub-sectors, such as DNA sequencing, robotics, artificial intelligence, blockchain and energy storage . In January, his portfolio was worth $33.1 billion, thanks to his stakes in companies including Tesla, Teladoc Health and Roku.

“I feel like St. Pete is ready to catch that ball,” Wood added. “You’re hungry. We chose St. Pete because we saw an innovative spirit there. There’s innovation DNA (here). I don’t know how you got it, but it’s here and we know it—because we were looking for it.We looked at many different cities, but focused on St. Pete…because we felt we could make a difference by coming here.

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