IDEA Commons is the urban innovation park north of the square in downtown Springfield. Missouri State University developed the area with support of the city of Springfield, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, City Utilities and other community partners.
IDEA Commons has positive impact on downtown
IDEA Commons includes the Jordan Valley Innovation Center (JVIC), the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center (which houses The eFactory, cooperative engineering program and other university enterprises) and Brick City (which houses the art and design department along with several other university and non-university enterprises). These development projects have had a significant impact on the university, the Springfield region and the state of Missouri.
Specifically, IDEA Commons has:
- Created opportunities for applied interdisciplinary education for students
- Expanded opportunities for business development and commercializing research
- Driven university partnerships with corporations and entrepreneurs
- Attracted and retained creative and entrepreneurial talent
The university’s work in IDEA Commons has had significant economic impact. Since 2013, JVIC and The eFactory have:
- Supported 608 students
- Generated 1,038 jobs
- Served 685 business clients
- Facilitated $29,924,733 in private and $11,256,853 in government-funded capital
- Received $4,592,996 in research and grant support
Room to grow
JVIC has reached capacity and cannot provide the desired office and lab space for its existing tenants, much less prospective new tenants. In addition, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce has identified a need for modern office space in downtown Springfield, and parking and commercial amenities are needed to complement the demands throughout the area.
Missouri State and the Springfield Business Development Corporation are collaborating with The Vecino Group to evaluate the feasibility of an expansion of IDEA Commons through a public-private partnership. The project will likely include partial demolition and expansion of Building 4 of JVIC as well as development of approximately 1.8 acres south of JVIC on university property, and adjacent property controlled by The Vecino Group.
Details of the project are still emerging, but we anticipate that it will include additional office and lab space to accommodate the current and future needs of JVIC, The eFactory and prospective tenants seeking to locate in IDEA Commons; community gathering space; parking; and street-level storefronts. In partnership with the city of Springfield, the project will also involve redirection of a portion of the historic Jordan Creek into an above ground channel near the proposed development site, which will result in a significant storm water benefit and will provide an amenity for IDEA Commons.
Resources are limited at Missouri State, and I have told all of our partners that Missouri State requires a net positive cash flow for the project to be feasible. This project will depend on a variety of funding sources to be successful. These will include public and private financing, incentives such as New Market Tax Credits and local incentives, as well as private contributions.
I hope you are as excited as I am about this project. Missouri State has established itself as a leader in economic development for the Springfield region and the state. This project provides a unique opportunity to grow Missouri State’s profile and spur progress throughout the region.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!