Harper Court’s second phase of development includes University of Chicago and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign technology facility partnership

Associate Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago John Flavin, Ald. Sophia King (4th) , State Rep. Barbara Flynn Curie (D-25), Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Robert J. Jones and University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer (left to right) listen as Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner speaks during a press conference where a partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chicago in an innovation initiative was announced, at the Polsky Center’s Polsky Exchange North building, 1452 E. 53rd St., Thursday, Oct. 19. -Marc Monaghan

By JOSEPH PHILLIPS
Staff Writer

The University of Chicago in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory will launch a partnership to promote a major innovation initiative that will help bring a new research and technology lab facility to the south side.

The group held a press conference at the Polsky Center, 1452 E. 53rd St., Oct. 19, announcing that the new partnership was designed to help connect entrepreneurs of Hyde Park with technologist from U. of I.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Bruce Rauner spoke at the press conference and said the partnership would be a positive one for the community.

“This exciting collaboration between two of Illinois’ leading academic institutions and the Army Research Lab has the power to catalyze scientific research and address our society’s most pressing challenges,” Emanuel said. “When great minds come together around audacious goals, the possibilities are limitless. I look forward to witnessing the discoveries that result from this dynamic new partnership.”

Rauner said he believes that the partnership between the two world-renowned universities would be an exciting development for the state of Illinois. He said that with the state’s growing network of technology development and innovation the collaboration was extraordinary.

This schematic rendering of Phase II of the Harper Court development proposed by Wexford Science & Technology, LLC, which will house an expansion of the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, was unveiled during a press conference at the Polsky Center’s Polsky Exchange North building, 1452 E. 53rd St., Thursday, Oct. 19. The schematic rendering indicates that the total height of the structure will be about 28 stories, and will be located at the site of the current parking structure on South Lake Park Avenue with 20 stories of offices above 7 levels of parking and a street level of retail space. Marc Monaghan

“It represents an extraordinary collaboration of talent and resources and portends extraordinary solutions for some of society’s most challenging concerns,” Rauner said.
Ald. Sophia King (4th) and State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-25) were also in attendance.

According to the universities, the primary goal of the partnership for both institutions is to develop and commercialize groundbreaking technology, drive the formation of startup companies and other links to industry. The areas of focus that helped bring the institutions together were advanced analytics and advanced materials, both are key strengths of the universities.

According to Robert Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago, the 280,000 square foot research and lab facility, which from the rendering appears to stand about 28 stories high, will be part of Phase II of the Harper Court project and will expect to host up to 100 faculty members, researchers and students in computer science, engineering, and materials science from the University of Illinois.

The facility, which is expected to be built by Wexford Science and Technology, will also have wet labs and computational space.

The project expects to break ground in 2018 with the possibility of being completed in 2020.

The announcement came today after Rauner revealed plans to build a new joint research and teaching facility in the South Loop. The project will involve both University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Chicago campuses, as well as the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.

j.phillips@hpherald.com