CHICAGO (March 23, 2022) — Related Midwest today announced that it has completed a land transfer to the Discovery Partners Institute, which will anchor the innovation district in Chicago’s newest neighborhood, The 78, with a 300,000-square-foot research and innovation center. The interdisciplinary hub and magnet for technology investment, led by the University of Illinois System, is projected to break ground in 2023 and open in 2026.
The Discovery Partners Institute will prepare young people, especially women and people of color, for careers in technology, fund research and development teams, and launch new ventures based on University of Illinois System research. The team has grown to about 45 people with eight positions open and has recently doubled its current headquarters at 200 S. Wacker Drive. Related’s one-acre land donation will enable DPI to attract and retain top talent in Chicago, with certain option rights to expand at The 78.
The 78 will transform 62 acres of undeveloped riverfront land into a vibrant downtown mixed-use community drawing inspiration from Chicago’s existing 77 neighborhoods. The 78 will expand the heart of Chicago southward, connecting the South Loop with Chinatown, Bronzeville with Pilsen, and providing industry-leading companies with a rare downtown campus opportunity that looks to the future of innovation while embracing the city’s rich history.
“The Discovery Partners Institute will anchor the Innovation District at The 78, and we’re proud that it will attract and retain Illinois’ brightest talent with education and innovation that will elevate Chicago’s position on the global stage,” said Curt Bailey, President of Related Midwest. “With DPI’s collaboration, The 78 will be a powerful engine for jobs, startups and new technologies as well as a residential and entertainment destination, making it a place that all Chicagoans can visit and be proud of.”
“We have provided more than $10 million in funding for research and development in just two short years,” said Bill Jackson, DPI’s executive director. “Our teams are testing for COVID-19 in wastewater, using drones and artificial intelligence to detect faults in our bridges, and even trying to improve weather forecasts with advanced satellite data. We are moving quickly in a way that will bring thousands of women and people of color into the tech sector annually.”
Approved for 13 million square feet of mixed use space, The 78 will include the capacity for more than 20,000 people to work onsite, drawing on Related’s proven track record of dynamic mixed-use projects. The 78’s forward-looking design incorporates multiple infrastructure improvements to support commuters and draw visitors, including a new pedestrian- and bike-friendly road, the new Wells-Wentworth Connector, that will link the Loop to Chinatown. It also extends Chicago’s famed Riverwalk, with a half-mile of entertainment-optimized riverfront space for visitors of all ages.
DPI’s building is funded with a $235 million commitment from the State of Illinois, $23.5 million of which has been released thus far to support design and development. Further, the Pritzker Foundation has gifted $10 million to establish the Pritzker Tech Talent Labs at DPI. Other funders include the CME Group Foundation, Apple and Google.
For more information on the Discovery Partners Institute, visit https://dpi.uillinois.edu/.