Mayor Lightfoot joins Governor Pritzker, University of Illinois and Related Midwest to Announce New Discovery Partners Institute Headquarters in Chicago.
CHICAGO— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today joined Governor JB Pritzker, the University of Illinois System and Near South Side community members to announce the University of Illinois’ Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) will anchor the first phase of the $7 billion mixed-use project known as The 78. Headquartered in Chicago, DPI will create a state-of-the art research and development campus and serve as a new model for building economic vitality and industry talent to enhance the technology workforce in Chicago and across the state.
Thanks to $235 million in state funding, DPI will create a 500,000-square-foot, state-of-the art research and development campus within The 78, Related Midwest’s 62-acre mixed-use project along the South Branch of the Chicago River. The campus is expected to create more than 40,000 direct STEM, tech, and data jobs over the next decade.
The campus will be located on the 1400 block of South Wells Street, which is being extended from Roosevelt Road through The 78 to 17th Street and Wentworth Avenue by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT). DPI will relocate from its 20,000-square-foot space at 200 S. Wacker Drive when construction is completed in 2024.
Chicago is already a leading national hub for technology, with over 370 start-ups launched in the city every year. DPI will expand on Chicago’s current technology economy by driving new opportunities for research and innovation and developing workforce solutions to address the current skills gap and prepare more residents for technology jobs of the future. In Illinois there are currently more than 30,000 entry-level job postings seeking technology workers than there are related graduates, according to National Center for Education Statistics.
The 78 is planned to include 13 million square feet of office, residential, retail, dining, hospitality, cultural and open space. The multi-phase project will generate more than 15,000 construction jobs, include a 20 percent affordable housing commitment, and contribute $25 million into the City’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund. Once complete, The 78’s economic impact is expected to exceed $3 billion annually.
More than $600 million in planned, City of Chicago infrastructure and transportation improvements at The 78 will enhance access for students, residents and commuters. In addition to the $89 million Wells-Wentworth connector, anticipated to be completed in 2021, plans include a new, $365 million CTA Red Line commuter station at 15th and Clark streets, and related upgrades to nearby roadways. Additionally, the development will include 12 acres of public open space and a half-mile riverwalk extension between the South Loop and Ping Tom Park.
The DPI announcement builds on Mayor Lightfoot’s economic development commitment to drive transformative growth for Chicago neighborhoods and downtown. DPI also supports the City’s 10-year economic plan, focused on fueling the growth of technology and other high impact industry sectors drive inclusive economic growth, expand jobs and restore Chicago’s population to three million residents in the next 10 years.