Tampa Bay Business Journal: May 16, 2014

TAMPA - In this week's Tampa Bay Business Journal segment, editor Alexis Muellner discusses the new Community Innovation Center in Tampa's John Germany Library, why IBM held its Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Tampa, and the new resort coming soon to Clearwater Beach.

A new place that could help economic development in the Tampa Bay region is set to open in just a few weeks at the John F. Germany Library in downtown Tampa.

The new Community Innovation Center (CIC) will occupy 10,000 square feet on the library's third floor. The CIC is made up of eight distinct spaces for learning, creating and meeting.

There is an area for children to learn STEM skills while playing with robots and a space for seniors to get answers on how to use smart phones and tablet computers.

The plan is also to have free tools such as 3D printers for making prototypes so potential entrepreneurs can launch new companies.

IBM just brought 4,000 people to Tampa for their Smarter Commerce Global Summit. Why Tampa?

"We really see Tampa as an emerging technology hotbed," said Jay Henderson, strategy director for IBM's Enterprise Marketing Management division. "We've seen a lot of our customers based out of Tampa so customers are adopting technology and we're seeing several partners in tech based in Tampa."

While Tampa Bay may never become what California's Silicon Valley is now, people around the country are now realizing that the West Coast of Florida is a breeding ground for technology-based businesses.

Dr. Kiran Patel finally plans to break ground on a luxury hotel on a 3-acre parcel in Clearwater Beach he bought a decade ago.

Actual construction is planned to begin on the $175 million, 450-room Wyndham Grand Resort on Coronado Drive by the end of 2014. The goal is to be finished within two years.

Patel believes the improving business climate, especially in tourism, makes now the right time to begin building.

For more information on these stories, click on the video player, go to youtube.com/watch?v=KSyolVHoQK8 or pick up this week's Tampa Bay Business Journal available on newsstands.

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