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University of Illinois to Develop $1.2B Innovation Center in Downtown Chicago

The Discovery Partners Institute will be situated at The 78, a mixed-use development extending Chicago’s central business district.

CHICAGO — The University of Illinois has unveiled plans to develop an interdisciplinary public-private research and innovation center known as the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) in Chicago. The $1.2 billion project will be situated at The 78, a mixed-use development by Related Midwest.

DPI will be developed on a donated portion of the 62-acre site bordered by Roosevelt Road, Clark Street, 16th Street and the Chicago River.

The facility is the first step in the development of the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN), which will join businesses, public sector partners and research universities to focus on the study of computing and big data, food and agriculture and health and wellness. Led by the University of Illinois system, with its campuses in Champaign, Springfield and Chicago, DPI will bring together students, faculty and businesses.

DPI will be operated through private donations, government support and partnerships with industry business. The size of the institute’s site at The 78 is still to be determined. A timetable for the opening is slated to be complete next year.

At full operation, DPI is expected to have as many as 90 faculty members — sourced from the University of Illinois system’s three universities as well as partner institutions — and approximately 1,800 graduate and undergraduate students who will spend one to four semesters living in Chicago while working at DPI and other businesses throughout the city.

The 78 is an extension of Chicago’s central business district that will connect to the downtown core via the new Wells-Wentworth Connector. Related Midwest has partnered with architecture firm SOM for the master-planned development. The name stems from the creation of the 78th community area in Chicago.

Related Midwest is the Chicago office of Related Cos., a developer of luxury condominium and rental homes, affordable housing communities and mixed-use properties.

— Kristin Hiller

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