© 2024 NPR Illinois
The Capital's Community & News Service
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

U of I agrees to purchase downtown Springfield building

The university is purchasing the building at 401 W. Washington
The university is purchasing the building at 401 E. Washington

The University of Illinois will buy an existing building just a few blocks from the Illinois statehouse to serve as the new home of the UIS Innovation Center.

The university said it will serve central Illinois as part of the U of I’s Illinois Innovation Network(IIN), providing a regional center for technology and research commercialization, business incubation and acceleration, workforce development, and policy research.

The building at 401 East Washington Street is owned by the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association. The sale price is $950-thousand plus closing costs. The funds will come from a $15 million state appropriation for Springfield hub.

The 24-thousand square foot, three story building will need renovation once the sale is complete, according to University Board of Trustees documents. The transaction requires UIS to assume the two existing tenant leases and enter into an additional lease with the seller for approximately one year. All leases will be terminated once construction gets underway in approximately one year. Completion of the project will take until 2024.

“IIN was created to serve as a transformative network of networks, harnessing the brainpower of our state’s public universities to collaborate on local and regional issues and create opportunities that benefit Illinoisans from the Ohio River to Rockford and every point in between,” University President Tim Killeen said. “Bringing the UIS Innovation Center to life is a crucial step.”

UIS Chancellor Janet Gooch said the new Innovation Center will be a strong addition to downtown Springfield.

“{With their action today, trustees have flipped the switch on what I believe will be a powerful machine for innovation, economic development and positive change for UIS, the state capital and the entire region,” Gooch said. “The UIS Innovation Center will be a magnet for bright people and brilliant ideas, providing a broad range of opportunities for our students and faculty, a key addition to the foundation of downtown Springfield and bold, new links between the city and the rest of Illinois.”

The new Innovation Center will include:

  • Innovate Springfield, UIS’s social innovation and business incubator, which will double its capacity to help develop new businesses and launch a startup accelerator.
  • Technology labs, maker spaces and experiential labs where entrepreneurs and researchers can develop and test product prototypes.
  • New workforce and professional education initiatives to support local employers, as well as expanded internship and fellowship programs for several UIS academic programs.
  • Space for the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership to collaborate with other policy institutes on research and analytical services related to critical issues such as community health, education and career access, and environmental protection.
  • Collaborative space for philanthropies, social service agencies, faculty researchers, students and lawmakers to analyze and implement strategies for the advancement of social progress.
  • Locations for other U of I System offices, including space for President Killeen to work when in Springfield.

The Innovation Center is one of 15 IIN hubs across the state.

Related Stories