Missouri State University, the Springfield Business Development Corporation and The Vecino Group announced today that they are exploring the potential for a new development within the IDEA Commons district. This proposed development will facilitate the creation of high-quality jobs and reinvestment in center city.
The three parties have agreed to conduct the necessary study and evaluation of a site on the southeast corner of Boonville Avenue and Phelps Street. The approximately 2-acre site is partially controlled by Missouri State University and partially controlled by The Vecino Group.
Spurring downtown development
This study will provide the concept and design of what a new development could entail as well as the market feasibility of the project. It is anticipated that the project could address multiple identified needs such as:
- additional research lab and office space for Jordan Valley Innovation Center
- additional real estate options for growing business startups at The eFactory
- large floor plate office space currently being sought by IT and other talent-intensive companies
- additional parking
- retail options
- community space
“This particular site is situated right in the heart of a vibrant redevelopment district,” said Mat Burton, president of public private partnerships for The Vecino Group. “IDEA Commons was very much ahead of its time when it started, and our hope is to keep this area flourishing by attracting new jobs and investment to downtown Springfield.”
About IDEA Commons
IDEA Commons, started 10 years ago by Missouri State, encompasses activity in the areas of innovation, design, entrepreneurship and the arts. It is anchored by a high-tech research facility, the Roy Blunt Jordan Valley Innovation Center (JVIC); the comprehensive business incubator, The eFactory; and the privately-developed, mixed-use complex, Brick City.
The proposed new project ideally will fulfill the needs of the growing district, which already accommodates more than 1,000 employees and students.
“We must continue to invest in our university to create educational opportunities, and ultimately jobs in our community so that our students will look to downtown Springfield for their future,” said Clif Smart, president of Missouri State University. “Missouri State and its Board of Governors are excited to begin the due diligence and feasibility study to explore further development opportunities which will build on the success of IDEA Commons.”
Since the City of Springfield originally acquired the former MFA facility and partnered with MSU to redevelop it, more than $130 million has been invested in the area by public and private developers. This investment has succeeded in attracting companies and talent to downtown Springfield.
“IDEA Commons has become an incredible asset for our region’s economy,” said Matt Morrow, president of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. “The area is ripe for expansion that will create new economic development opportunities and attract top talent to high-paying jobs.”
Exploring Jordan Creek development
The City of Springfield will participate in the project by contracting for engineer services to evaluate the feasibility of “daylighting” Jordan Creek in the project area. This effort capitalizes on a growing community desire to improve the existing floodplain created by the Jordan Creek, which flows underground in a box culvert through this area.
Opening up the creek has the potential to address storm water issues as well as create an economic development amenity spurring further development.
“Cities are often defined by their downtowns. Ours is strong and getting stronger,” said Ken McClure, mayor of the City of Springfield. “But we must continue to reinvest for our future. The potential that exists here is something we must capitalize on.”