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Lincoln Yards Megadevelopment To Break Ground In Early 2021 With Life Sciences Building

Sterling Bay will build the eight-story life sciences office building on West Concord Place near Home Depot and The Hideout.

Sterling Bay will break ground on a life sciences building in early 2021 on West Concord Place in Bucktown. Gensler designed the building.
Gensler / Provided
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BUCKTOWN — Sterling Bay is dedicating its first Lincoln Yards building to Chicago’s biotechnology needs.

An eight-story life sciences-focused office building will be built on West Concord Place in Bucktown, near Home Depot and longtime businesses The Hideout and Ada Street restaurant. Sterling Bay plans to break ground on the building in early 2021.

The 320,000-square-foot building is planned on the southwest end of the 55-acre Lincoln Yards mega development. The news was first reported by the Tribune.

The decision to build for the biotech industry was influenced by a surge in demand, Sterling Bay spokeswoman Julie Goudie told Block Club.

In Lincoln Park, Sterling Bay’s newly redeveloped medical research facility at 2430 N. Halsted St. is already at more than 50 percent capacity. Sterling Bay purchased the property from Lurie Children’s Hospital in 2018, Goudie said.

Just this week, biotech company Evozyne joined Exicure and Vanqua Bio in signing a lease at the Halsted Street building.

The new Lincoln Yards building will meet the demand for established companies like Evozyne, and for those in need of laboratory space to grow their startups, Goudie said.

“By creating this lab space here in the city … we’re hoping we can help the city retain those companies that in the past have had to leave because they don’t have the resources to stay,” she said. “Evozyne is a Chicago-based company. … If we didn’t have the space for them, they’d have to leave.”

The biomedical and biotech sectors accounted for 44 percent of $877 million in funding raised by 942 startups spun out from Illinois universities between 2013 and 2017 — but the number of local facilities available for clinical tests hasn’t kept up, Crains reported.

In 2018, the 12.5 million square feet of commercial lab space in the Chicago area was only 1.2 percent vacant, Crains reported. The vacancy rate in Boston, by contrast, was 4.5 percent.

Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said in a press release that the new building will address this need.

“This new life sciences building will serve as a cornerstone at Lincoln Yards, creating good jobs, providing vital resources to the city’s growing biomedical research community, and transforming the North Branch Corridor into an inclusive urban environment positioned for future growth,” he said.

The Lincoln Yards development is a controversial $6 billion mega-development along the North Branch of the Chicago River. The project’s footprint encompasses both Bucktown and Lincoln Park.

Neighboring residents, business owners and activists fought the project over the course of months of hotly contested debates. But in April 2019, City Council voted to approve $1.3 billion in subsidies for Lincoln Yards.

The Lincoln Yards TIF district, named the “Cortland and Chicago River TIF, will generate at least $900 million to cover the cost of infrastructure projects to pave the way for Lincoln Yards to be built.

These projects include:

  • New bridges over the Chicago River
  • A new Metra station
  • An extension of the Bloomingdale Trail (The ‘606’ park system)
  • Water taxis
  • Dedicated bicycle lanes
  • A potential light-rail transit way and extension of the city’s street grid.

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