Press Releases

Discovery Partners Institute headquarters construction bids underway

Groundbreaking now closer for project at The 78 in Chicago

CHICAGO – The University of Illinois System’s Discovery Partners Institute is one step closer to its permanent home with the announcement that the Illinois Capital Development Board is accepting bids for the construction project. 

A groundbreaking ceremony is slated for later this year at The 78, Chicago’s 62-acre neighborhood on the Chicago River. The 1.5-acre site for the facility, donated by developer Related Midwest, will serve as an inclusive tech ecosystem with more than 200,000 square feet of office, classroom, lab, and event spaces.  This state-of-the-art facility will be used by DPI for education and applied research programs, and collaborative work with industry partners. Additionally, the facility will serve as a welcoming hub for visitors and a focal point for community engagement.

With the support of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the state of Illinois appropriated $500 million in 2019 to the U of I System’s Illinois Innovation Network, a collection of 15 research and innovation hubs statewide that includes DPI. Approximately $235 million of that funding was earmarked for DPI’s headquarters.

“This marks an important milestone,” said University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen. “DPI has great momentum and establishing our permanent headquarters on The 78 will allow us to continue building on our efforts and grow our impact in Chicago and beyond.”

Built on a foundation of strategic, domestic, and international partnerships, DPI develops strong collaborations across all aspects of their mission. Its Pritzker Tech Talent Labs has grown to include support from global tech companies for its community education programs reaching K-12 students and their teachers, and from blue-chip employers in IL accessing its pipeline of diverse talents in its award-winning workforce program for software apprentices. On the innovation front, new ventures have emerged from DPI’s business building unit, and new research partnerships have developed within its applied R&D unit. DPI has established and continues to grow its international partnerships with more than a dozen leading universities around the world specifically identified for the value they bring to Illinois through their expertise in fields such as quantum, semiconductors, EV batteries, climate, AI, machine learning, and healthcare. In 2023, DPI attracted tens of millions in research funding for a range of projects from wastewater analysis to clean energy and equitable transit solutions. Continuing to scale these efforts will enable DPI to expand its reach and overall impact.

OMA New York and Jacobs are leading the design of the new headquarters for DPI, with CDB overseeing construction. Related Midwest will oversee the continued buildout of The 78.

The new eight-story DPI building is designed to create strong connections to the communities on all sides of the building, the adjacent riverfront, and the future phases of development. The building is on track to achieve LEED Gold certification when it opens in 2027.

Construction bids must be submitted to CDB by April 16. A pre-bid Q&A session with the CDB for interested contractors will take place at the Discovery Partners Institute’s current location at 200 S. Wacker Drive on Tuesday, March 12, at 10a.m.