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Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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State gives land for Pinellas pediatric site

ST. PETERSBURG — The expansion of the city’s so-called medical corridor got another boost Wednesday when Gov. Rick Scott and his Cabinet approved the transfer of a 2-acre parcel in St. Petersburg to All Children’s Hospital and the University of South Florida for a new pediatric research and training center.

The center, which will be run as a partnership between the hospital and the university, will house research into childhood diseases and develop specific treatments, especially pediatric brain health, neuroscience, early brain development, memory and behavioral health.

State officials say the 300,000-square-foot facility that will be built on the site close to Fourth Street South near the hospital campus will create 400 construction jobs. Construction is estimated to cost up to $85 million.

When it is complete, the hospital plans to hire 15 new researchers and six faculty members. Overall, the center will house 40 researchers.

The Florida Cabinet vote to transfer the land was unanimous. Under the deal, ownership of the site will transfer to All Children’s in June, with the hospital required to begin construction within 10 years of that date.

“We are happy to support All Children’s Hospital for the work they do to care for our youngest patients,” Scott said in a statement. “This land transfer will enable the hospital to create jobs, conduct research and better serve their patients.”

All Children’s has another expansion in the works. Last year, city leaders agreed to a land-swap deal for 1.5-acre plot at Fourth Street and Sixth Avenue South that the city leases to the YWCA of Tampa Bay.

That site is earmarked for a multistory clinic to increase the number of care beds for critically ill children. The hospital has 259 beds and treats children from every county in Florida.

In a statement, USF President Judy Genshaft thanked Scott and Pinellas state lawmakers for supporting the proposal.

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