Project Bromine would take UCF’s place in NeoCity and restart BRIDG
The Osceola County Board of Commissioners released a proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Wednesday between Osceola County and a potential partner, which if agreed to at the upcoming County Commission meeting on Monday, would replace the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) role with BRIDG and NeoCity, while renewing the original vision for NeoCity.
In 2014, Osceola County, UCF, and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council entered into a partnership agreement to form BRIDG, a nonprofit, public-private-partnership to operate an advanced manufacturing center to focus on microelectronics. The purpose of BRIDG was to act as a catalyst to bring high-tech, high-wage jobs to Osceola County.
Under that original agreement, Osceola County would build the infrastructure of NeoCity, which included an advanced manufacturing fabrication lab, known as the Center for NeoVation. UCF agreed to lease the Center for NeoVation for 30 years and operate it through a service agreement with BRIDG.
During the past year, BRIDG was successful at securing multiple Department of Defense contracts that recognized the potential of BRIDG and NeoCity as an emerging leader in securing our nation’s microelectronics supply chain. However, due to state budget cuts UCF terminated its management service agreement with BRIDG.
Following UCF’s decision to end BRIDG, Osceola County quickly began a search to find a new partner who shared the same vision for BRIDG and NeoCity as the county and the Department of Defense – one that brings high-tech, high-wage jobs to Osceola County and establishes NeoCity as a leader in advanced manufacturing of microelectronics.
If approved, the county and the potential partner will have at least 60 days to come to a formal partnership agreement. The MOU describes some of the shared goals of the potential partnership, including:
• Taking UCF’s place in the lease agreement for the Center of NeoVation.
• Operating the Center of NeoVation at its full capacity.
• The resumption of BRIDG as a non-profit.
• The continuation of BRIDG’s contracts with the Department of Defense.
• The investment of millions of dollars into NeoCity.
• Applying for the proposed new Federal Advanced Packaging National Manufacturing Institute.
• The creation of at least 220 jobs at the Center for NeoVation.
“This potential partner is well-suited to pick up the mantle from UCF. They understand the specialized capabilities of the facility and are fluent in this kind of technology,” said Osceola Commission Chairwoman Viviana Janer. “While we are disappointed that UCF shifted its priorities away from this project, we believe that Project Bromine has the will and resources to make the best use of our existing investment. We are excited by the potential of this new partnership and what it will contribute to our overall vision for NeoCity to transform our economy with high-paying technology jobs.”
The company, currently known by its economic development code-name Project Bromine, is a U.S. owned and based company that specializes in development and manufacturing of integrated circuits. This proposed partnership not only strengthens current partnerships in NeoCity, including IMEC, TEL, and SUSS, but will likely build upon those relationships and expand upon them.
“As a trusted semiconductor foundry, Project Bromine's decision to assume management of the Center for NeoVation marks a pivotal moment in developing our region’s technology industry,” said Tim Giuliani, president and CEO of Orlando Economic Partnership. “It is a significant step forward in accelerating the momentum of our region’s economic recovery and ensuring longer-term economic success in our nation.”
Should the Osceola County Commission approve the MOU at its Monday meeting, it is anticipated that the company would be revealed at the meeting.