ARK Investment Management LLC (“ARK” or “ARK Invest”), an investment adviser focused solely on investing in disruptive innovation, announced last October the relocation of its corporate headquarters to St. Petersburg, Florida, effective November 1, 2021. This move will include the creation of a massive business incubator, ARK Innovation Center, that will have an estimated impact of $28 million in the region thanks to the 1,265 direct and indirect jobs.
The official groundbreaking ceremony for the ARK Innovation Center took place today with ARK CEO Cathie Wood speaking alongside St. Petersburg city officials and community leaders. The state-of-the-art facility is set to retain and attract top talent by supporting entrepreneurs and tech startups in St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay region.
“I have a feeling that St. Pete is going to become a very powerful beacon for innovation,” Wood told the gathered crowd. “We chose St. Pete among all other cities because we saw the innovative spirit. There’s an innovation DNA. I don’t know how you got it, but it’s here and we know it, because we went looking for it.”
Innovation, ingenuity bring ARK to St. Petersburg
ARK’s new corporate headquarters will be in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg at 200 Central. The space will enable ARK to scale while its team enjoys a better work-life balance. While a substantial number of employees have chosen to relocate and work in the office, ARK’s hybrid back-to-work model will harness technology to accommodate working remotely. With this model, ARK hopes to maximize its productivity and attract top talent from around the world.
“We are thrilled to relocate our corporate headquarters to St. Petersburg, Florida, as we believe the Tampa Bay region’s talent, innovative spirit, and quality of life will accelerate our growth initiatives,” stated Cathie Wood, ARK’s Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Investment Officer. “ARK is not a traditional Wall Street asset management firm, and we are looking forward to breaking the mold further by relocating to St. Petersburg, a city investing in technology, science, and innovation. Our relocation and the ARK Innovation Center will allow us to be more innovative and to impact the broader community while shining a spotlight on the technological advances and creativity permeating the Tampa Bay region.”
ARK joins a bustling downtown area in the ‘Burg
This is a major win for surrounding businesses. Those employees choosing to relocate to St. Pete will enjoy access to local restaurants such as Craft Kafe, The Mill, Naked Farmer, Datz, The Avenue, The Oyster Bar, Mickey’s Cafe, and Beans & Barlour, among others. That’s just scratching the surface of what’s immediately available outside of its new offices.
“Tampa has been recognized as the top emerging technology city in the US and the broader area including St. Petersburg is among the top metro areas for STEM professionals. It offers a vast network of companies, universities, incubators, entrepreneurs, and many others dedicated to advancement,” stated Jana Haines, ARK’s Chief Strategy Officer. “We are inspired by the area’s vibrant and diverse talent base and the early success of public and private partnerships focused on innovation. As St. Petersburg is primed for exponential growth, ARK hopes to be a catalyst and connector, amplifying the efforts already underway.”
“We are thrilled ARK has decided to call Florida home,” stated Florida Secretary of Commerce Jamal Sowell, President and CEO of Enterprise Florida. “Their investment in the St. Petersburg area will have profound economic impacts in the years to come and will continue to set Florida apart as one of the top innovation destinations in the country.”
The creation of a massive new innovation center
In tandem with the relocation, ARK is collaborating with the Tampa Bay Innovation Center on a new incubator that Pinellas County will build and own. The incubator, designated as ARK Innovation Center, is scheduled to open in July 2023 and will be located on 2.5 acres donated by the City of St. Petersburg at 4th Street and 11th Avenue South in the Innovation District. By 2026, the 45,000-square-foot building is expected to impact the county by $28 million thanks to the 1,265 direct and indirect jobs expected. Moreover, its clients and graduates are expected to generate $127 million in annual revenue.
“We’ve worked closely with our state and regional partners to help ARK choose the City of St. Petersburg for their investment,” stated Dr. Cynthia Johnson, Director of Pinellas County Economic Development. “We’re honored to continue our work and excited to collaborate with Cathie and her team to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in Pinellas. We want to thank ARK for its commitment to equitable development and job creation.”
ARK arrives in St. Pete this November
“ARK represents the community of innovators and disruptors thriving in St. Pete, particularly in the financial sector,” stated J.P. DuBuque, President & CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corporation. “We are incredibly proud that ARK has chosen not only to join us but to invest in the St. Pete community.”
“ARK Innovation Center is key to the efforts by Pinellas County and the region to grow and solidify the local entrepreneurial ecosystem,” stated Chris Paradies, Chairman of the Board of the Tampa Bay Innovation Center. “We are thrilled that ARK is taking such an active role as we continue to establish the region as the center for technology and innovation, while driving investment dollars and creating hundreds of jobs.”
ARK will close its New York office permanently on October 31, 2021.
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