Press Releases

Related’s The 78 to be site of planned Discovery Partners Institute

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner reveals innovation plan with University of Illinois System; Related donates land to jump-start project.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen today unveiled plans for an interdisciplinary public-private research and innovation center known as the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) at The 78, a mixed-use, master-planned development by Related Midwest. The new facility is planned to be developed on a donated portion of the 62-acre site bordered by Roosevelt Road, Clark Street, 16th Street and the Chicago River in downtown Chicago.

In selecting The 78, DPI will anchor a new neighborhood offering dynamic residential, commercial, academic, civic, cultural and recreational experiences. DPI is the inaugural 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 U of I System, with its campuses in Champaign, Springfield and Chicago, DPI will bring students, world-class faculty and businesses together to share ideas and take them into their respective communities.

“DPI will help drive economic growth for generations,” said Governor Rauner. “It combines our state’s most valuable resources in education, technology and business so we can attract venture capital to build the businesses⁠—and jobs⁠—of the future.

“This campus for innovation, anchored by the University of Illinois, will be a transformative force on the South Side of Chicago and for all of Chicago,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “I look forward to working with the Governor and the many partners involved as we turn this vision into a reality.”

The 78, in development by Related Midwest, is master-planned in partnership with world-renowned architecture firm SOM and calls for a curated mix of residential, commercial, institutional, cultural and recreational uses, including 40 percent green and open space and a half-mile of developed riverfront that will expand the city’s existing Riverwalk. An extension of Chicago’s central business district, The 78 will connect to the downtown core via the new Wells-Wentworth Connector and to the entire city via bike-friendly streets and proximity to all major transit lines.

“Leveraging Related’s extensive experience in international placemaking, The 78 will be a transformative downtown neighborhood designed to respond to the rapidly changing demands of future generations, making it the ideal location for a dynamic institute like DPI,” said Curt Bailey, president of Related Midwest. “Research, education and innovation are guiding principles for The 78⁠—one of the largest and most ambitious projects ever conceived in Chicago⁠—so when we learned of the U of I System’s mission, we were eager to not just support it, but accelerate it by providing a blank canvas on which the institute can be developed.”

The $1.2 billion DPI will be operated through private donations, government support and partnerships with business and industry. The size of the institute’s site on The 78 is still to be determined, and the university will work in conjunction with Related Midwest’s design and development teams to determine the exact location. An implementation plan that will include a timetable for the opening is expected to be complete next year.

“The 78 will provide students, faculty and corporate partners with a world-class setting in which they can live, study and work⁠—ultimately pairing graduates with high-quality jobs within the immediate neighborhood as leading employers establish a presence there,” Bailey said. “By fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and creating an urban experience unlike any other in the country, our hope is that students, including those from out of state, will decide to remain in Chicago⁠—and The 78 in particular⁠—long after they finish their studies, in some cases starting their own business enterprises that will contribute to our city’s diverse economy.”

At full operation, DPI plans to have as many as 90 faculty members⁠—sourced from the U of I 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. In connecting students with top research faculty in agriculture, healthcare, computing and other critical fields, as well as with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, DPI will promote cutting-edge research and product development designed to address real-world challenges facing the city and state.

“This unique new institute will add to the momentum that has been developing in Chicago to create an innovation infrastructure at the kind of scale that can massively accelerate progress and economic development in our state,” Killeen said. “It will build on the U of I System’s long, rich history of pioneering innovation, and a legacy of service to Illinois and to this global city that dates back more than a century.”

For more information on DPI, contact Tom Hardy at University of Illinois at For more information on The 78, visit


About Related Midwest:
Related Midwest, the Chicago office of Related Companies, is the preeminent developer of luxury condominium and rental homes, affordable housing communities and mixed-use properties in Chicago. Recognized for its architecturally significant, market-defining projects and led by industry veterans who have integrated both property management and residential sales expertise into the development model, Related Midwest has reshaped five-star living in downtown Chicago through its three luxury apartment developments: 500 Lake Shore Drive, OneEleven and Landmark West Loop. Related Midwest’s multibillion-dollar pipeline includes the Robert A.M. Stern Architects-designed One Bennett Park, a 70-story ultra-luxury residential tower and adjacent park by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. In addition to One Bennett Park, Related Midwest is planning some of Chicago’s most anticipated developments: 400 N. Lake Shore Drive, located on the site of the former Chicago Spire project; The 78, a mixed-use, master-planned community on 62 acres at the southwest corner of Clark Street and Roosevelt Road, one of the largest vacant tracts of land in the city; and two projects in the West Loop neighborhood. For more information, please visit

About Related:
Since 1972, Related has created large-scale, mixed-use developments that pioneer new visions in all aspects of urban life including: Time Warner Center and Hudson Yards, a dynamic new neighborhood, in New York City; The Grand in downtown Los Angeles; and a city defining development in Santa Clara. These upscale urban complexes, which feature retail, restaurant, entertainment and cultural venues in combination with architecturally award-winning residential, hotel and office structures, become major destinations in themselves. Related’s buildings have redefined the modern workplace and sophisticated urban living, contributing to the economic vitality and quality of life for their developments’ residents, visitors, neighborhoods, surrounding communities and cities at large. Recently named one of Fast Company Magazine’s Most Innovative Companies in the World, Related has offices in gateway cities including New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami/South Florida, Washington, D.C., Abu Dhabi, London and Shanghai. For more information, please visit


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