CHICAGO – In another strong indication of his commitment to building the emerging bioscience industry throughout Illinois, Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced a $1 million Opportunity Returns investment in the state-of-the-art Illinois Technology Innovation Campus, a planned development that will serve as the catalyst in transforming the state from a scientific research hub to a launching pad for various bioscience technologies. This unprecedented facility is expected to create 3,250 new jobs on-site, more than 10,000 ripple-effect jobs and 1,000 construction jobs. Upon completion, the campus will generate $1.8 billion annually in statewide economic activity, according to a study conducted by Applied Real Estate Analysis, Inc. Forest City Enterprises recently purchased the former G.D. Searle Parkway site in Skokie for $43 million from Pfizer, Inc.
“As the global economy continues to evolve, we must invest in the technologies of today and tomorrow. The Technology Innovation Campus is a tremendous opportunity to take the scientific research that is being produced throughout Illinois from concept to commercialization. Illinois has all the necessary ingredients to become the bio and nanotech capital of the world, and this public-private partnership involving our universities, national laboratories, industry leaders and our fine state and local elected officials is a giant leap in helping us achieve this attainable goal. Even during these challenging fiscal times, we must have a capital budget to continue supporting vital projects like this that are moving our economy into the 21st Century and beyond,” Gov. Blagojevich said.
Gov. Blagojevich has also included an additional $4 million in the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s (DCEO) Fiscal Year 2006 budget for the project. The site currently includes one million square feet of research and office space spread across nine buildings. The redevelopment, which is expected to take approximately 10 years, will include a combination of renovation and new construction. The proposed facility will provide the resources to convert innovative research in Illinois into viable commercial activity. Construction is slated to begin late spring 2005 to revitalize this corporate facility into a state-of-the-art, multi-tenant research campus with the capacity to expand to meet future demands.
"Forest City is extremely grateful to Gov. Blagojevich for this additional investment in our Skokie project," said Gayle Farris, President of Forest City's University, Bioscience & Technology Group. "It is dedicated public/private partnerships such as this that will help us achieve our goal of transforming this site into a state-of-the-art research campus to enhance Illinois’ position as a major bioscience market for the 21st Century."
"We have a chance to further solidify Illinois as a driving force in creating the kinds of high-tech research and jobs through this innovative project. Gov. Blagojevich continues to make the kinds of investments that are critical to fostering a more healthy, diverse and vibrant economy. This is yet another prime example of why we must have a capital bill," State Senator Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston) said.
“The future of our economy is occurring today in Illinois. The Technology Innovation Campus is going to create the cutting edge jobs that will produce the scientific innovations that will make us the envy of the nation. The investment Gov. Blagojevich is making in this project highlights why we must have the capital resources available to help us reach our economic potential. If we don’t, the train will leave the station without Illinois on board,” State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) said.
"Gov. Blagojevich and I will continue doing everything we can to keep our economy moving forward. The Technology Innovation Campus is a prime example of how Gov. Blagojevich's Opportunity Returns economic development strategy can work by forging public-private partnerships and laying the foundation for tremendous economic success. We must be able to continue making these vital investments in our economy," State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) said.
This project will be managed by Forest City’s Boston-based University, Bioscience and Technology Group. This division is also in the process of constructing University Park, a 2.3 million square foot biotechnology campus near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA.
“This is an exciting day for the Village of Skokie,” Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen said. “We are proud to have this important project in Skokie. We anticipate tremendous benefits to our community and all of Illinois, and are particularly grateful to Gov. Rod Blagojevich and DCEO Director Jack Lavin for the state’s strong support.”
“Gov. Blagojevich is strongly committed to investing the taxpayers’ money efficiently and effectively, and this is a great example of his Opportunity Returns strategy in action. This is about turning an existing facility into a powerful economic engine once again for Skokie and the entire region by attracting even more high-tech firms to Illinois and by further establishing the state as a leader in the biotech industry. The Illinois Technology Innovation Campus is primed to play a crucial role in creating those coveted, high quality jobs that are driving the economy in the 21st Century. But in order for this project and many others like it to move forward, the General Assembly needs to approve a capital bill,” DCEO Director Jack Lavin said.
Forest City Enterprises, Inc. is a $7.2 billion NYSE-listed real estate company headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. The Company is principally engaged in the ownership, development, acquisition and management of commercial and residential real estate throughout the United States. The Company's portfolio includes interests in retail centers, apartment communities, office buildings and hotels in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Elsewhere in the Chicagoland area, Forest City is master developer of the 80-acre Central Station residential project, the city’s largest real estate project.
Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history. Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – each with a regional team that is empowered and expected to rapidly respond to opportunities and challenges. Opportunity Returns is about tangible, specific actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to businesses. It is about upgrading the skills of the local workforce, increasing the access to capital, opening new markets, improving infrastructure, and creating and retaining jobs. Opportunity Returns is about successfully partnering with companies and communities, both large and small, to help all of Illinois reach its economic potential.