Mitch Glaeser and Richard Blaser of The Laser Investment Group had a vision of a live-work-play community, with businesses, housing and recreation areas to be run primarily by solar power. The community would be an environmentally- and tech-friendly development. San Felasco Tech City, just south of Alachua, Florida, recently held its grand opening for the first phase of this 82-acre development. This phase consists of two 30,000 square foot commercial structures joined by a 211-kw roof promenade-mounted solar panels over the central walkway. Approaching the building, visitors and employees will be greeted with the site of five twenty-two foot red solar trees, made of round solar panels for additional solar power to support the power needs at the site, such as outdoor lighting.
The first phase is already spoken for, with one of the 30,000 square foot buildings leased by Fracture, a company that transfers pictures to glass. The company had outgrown its space and with its new location is able to respond to the increasing demand for its products and grow to 65 employees. Other companies leasing space are tech companies, both start-ups and expansions.
The Laser Investment Group received an $84,671. grant through the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). This program is helping businesses like The Laser Investment Group use renewable energy to help offset power costs at their businesses. The REAP program will fund up to 25% of eligible project costs for renewable energy projects for eligible businesses in rural areas.
An Education Station day care and learning facility is already under construction at the Tech City site. Additionally, housing is planned to begin construction by the beginning of 2020 and plans for a café to be built at the Highway 441 entrance are in development. Several more phases of commercial buildings similar to the first phase are also in development. Solar power is planned for these buildings and applying through the REAP program for assistance has been discussed with local Rural Development staff.