Proposed development will amplify innovation and start-up initiatives from the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, expanding economic opportunity.
CHICAGO – Wexford Science & Technology, LLC, today announced an agreement with the University of Chicago to jointly pursue the second phase of the Harper Court development in the Hyde Park neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. The proposed development will serve as a mixed-use complex combining laboratory and office space to support collaborative research, innovation, start-ups and opportunities for local entrepreneurs.
This new development will expand the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which supports the creation of new businesses connected to the University of Chicago community and on Chicago’s South Side. The Polsky Center provides extensive support for entrepreneurs, operates a 34,000 square-foot co-working space and incubator on 53rd Street called the Polsky Exchange, and runs one of the nation’s leading accelerators. The new innovation complex will be located across from the Polsky Exchange on the north side of 53rd Street between South Harper and South Lake Park in Hyde Park, and close to the main UChicago campus. By tapping into existing momentum, the new facility will place a primary focus on multi-disciplinary and corporate collaboration, serving as a catalyst for further civic engagement and economic development on the South Side.
This innovation project is the second phase of the Harper Court redevelopment, which has helped revitalize Hyde Park’s commercial district through efforts of local officials, the University of Chicago and the City of Chicago. The first phase, which opened in 2013, includes 19 new businesses including retailers, restaurants, a Hyatt Place hotel, and an office tower that houses more than 550 University of Chicago employees. The redevelopment of the Harper Court complex and nearby storefronts so far has accounted for an estimated 1,320 new jobs.
“Wexford is excited to build upon the catalytic steps taken to date in Hyde Park by the University of Chicago,” said Jim Berens, president and CEO, Wexford Science and Technology. “We believe combining the Polsky Center’s leadership in technology commercialization and venture creation with the development and programming expertise of Wexford will help foster an environment of innovation and collaboration that can amplify start-up activity, expand university-corporate relationships, attract new talent and ideas, and create community engagement and workforce opportunities.”
The development is envisioned to include dedicated laboratories for biosciences, chemistry, physical sciences and computational work, and will be anchored by four “core” facilities—bio-sciences support, microelectronics fabrication, advanced visualization, and maker-space. These core facilities will serve as multi-user shared laboratory areas. The complex will feature small laboratory, office, maker, and event space designed to promote integration and collaboration among researchers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and companies across all segments and communities.
The new Hyde Park development would join Wexford’s national portfolio of 12 Knowledge Communities—vibrant, mixed-use, amenity-rich environments that operate as a nexus for leveraging local strengths in the academic, corporate and civic sectors.
The innovation complex will be planned in cooperation with the Hyde Park and greater South Side community. Wexford will partner closely with the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center and Office of Civic Engagement to explore avenues for inclusive programming to support South Side entrepreneurs and their innovative efforts.
“We are excited to expand the reach and capabilities of the Polsky Center through this new partnership with Wexford,” said John Flavin, associate vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation and head of the Polsky Center. “By working closely with the community, we will jointly define the top priorities and functionality for this new facility in an effort to grow the innovation ecosystem and create more opportunities for both our University and South Side entrepreneurs alike.”
It is estimated the project will create approximately 650 construction jobs and provide lab and commercial office space to accommodate in excess of 600 permanent jobs in the fields of research, technology, life sciences and related entrepreneurial endeavors.
Wexford Science & Technology, LLC is a real estate company exclusively focused on partnering with universities, academic medical centers and research companies to develop vibrant, mixed-use communities. Wexford’s communities are built on a foundation of discovery, innovation and entrepreneurial activity that creates visible outcomes in the form of substantial economic growth, new and diverse jobs and community transformation. Wexford targets strategic opportunities with top-tier research universities that are directly on or contiguous to dense, urban campuses. Wexford has developed twelve Knowledge Communities across the U.S.: the Bio-Research & Development Growth (BRDG) Park (Danforth Plant Science Center) in St. Louis, MO; Cortex Innovation Community (Washington University in St Louis) in St. Louis, MO; Downtown Crossing (Yale University) in New Haven, CT; Hershey Center for Applied Research (Penn State School of Medicine) in Hershey, PA; Innovation Research Park @ODU (Old Dominion University) in Norfolk, VA; The South Street Landing (Brown University, University of Rhode Island) in Providence, RI; Chesterfield (Duke University) in Durham, NC; Ucity Square (University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University) in Philadelphia, PA; University of Maryland BioPark in Baltimore, MD; University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park in Miami, FL; University Technology Park at IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology) in Chicago, IL; and Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in Winston-Salem, NC. More information about Wexford can be found at www.wexfordscitech.com