South Loop research center finally gets big check from Pritzker

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Another $98 million will go the University of Illinois at Chicago for a previously announced computer design research and learning center. The remainder is for other university projects in other parts of the state under the state’s Illinois Innovation Network.

The DPI project is especially important to both the city’s tech and real estate communities.

Pritzker had said earlier this year that he intended to release $500 million for DPI and other projects originally appropriated under former Gov. Bruce Rauner. But he had not done so, setting off speculation that the project was having trouble getting off the ground.

Today, Pritzker said the money now has been committed, and he also announced the consulting firm Jacobs and OMA-AMO, an architecture and design firm, have been selected to design and engineer the flagship structure.

“This investment will strengthen our state’s long-term economic vitality for generations to come, creating and supporting nearly 50,000 new jobs in the next 10 years, with an economic impact of $19 billion,” Pritzker said in a statement.

DPI is a unit of the University of Illinois. Other U of I projects also are getting a piece of the $142 million, with $4.4 million for an innovation center and $14 million to design a new data science center, both at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

DPI has been a particularly important project to U of I President Thomas Killeen, who has viewed it as a way to better connect companies in need of tech talent with university researchers and students. Pritzker had insisted the university match state funding with other contributions dollar-for-dollar. It wasn’t immediately clear where that stands, but Pritzker’s statement indicated the headquarters overall will cost $250 million, of which the state will invest $235 million.

DPI also is critical to the 78 developer Related Midwest, which has donated land for the institute facility and hopes it will anchor other business, retail and residential projects on the 62-acre site.

DPI hopes to have the South Loop facility open by the fall of 2025, according to a spokeswoman, and has signed a land-use agreement with Related Midwest.

John Pletz contributed



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