The Research Park’s evolution has been significantly influenced by its relationship with Champaign-based developers Fox/Atkins Development, LLC.
The University of Illinois competitively selected a private development partner for the Research Park. The University of Illinois Research Park LLC, a separate organization established by the University to govern the Research Park, leases the land for development to a developer for construction. Fox/Atkins, a partnership formed by local businessmen Peter Fox and the late Clint Atkins, is the developer of the Research Park. The company was responsible for transforming the land from fish ponds, agricultural fields and livestock barns to a thriving, supportive environment for the modern tech entrepreneur.
“Having them partner with the University 10 years ago was really critical to being able to even move forward with the vision and the dream,” said Ed McMillan, a University of Illinois trustee Fox/Atkins will help guide the park into its maturation phase as another 10-year developer agreement was signed in early 2011.The company handles the development of the property and construction of buildings. It also leases Research Park office and lab space, working with prospective tenants to meet their needs. Fox/Atkins has had a major impact on the “look” of the Research Park. The original aesthetic vision for the park was to match the Georgian brick style emblematic of the University of Illinois campus, but that has evolved over time.
Fox/Atkins has been instrumental in implementing the community amenities of the Research Park. The addition of the iHotel and Conference center, a joint project between the university and the developer, has become a critical component of the Park’s ability to serve its community.
Positioned with a uniquely global yet local perspective, Fox/Atkins is keenly aware of how important the Research Park is not only to the university and its tenants, but also to the Champaign-Urbana community. “
“Building the tech sector in the Research Park will stimulate the local economy and address the most important goal of creating meaningful job growth in our community that changes the future of Champaign-Urbana,” said Peter Fox.