New Residential Development Planned at Research Park

Categories : Partnerships & Acquisitions, Research Park
Posted on: September 23, 2021

Unique residential community for area professionals will include ~250 apartment/townhouse rental units, a clubhouse, pool, dog park, restaurant/retail and more


CHAMPAIGN, IL – The University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved the next phase of Research Park development at its September meeting, taking a step forward in fulfilling the campus technology hub’s vision as a live-work-play destination.

The property will be one of the most unique residential communities in Champaign-Urbana, a prime location optimal for Research Park employees, as well as University faculty, staff, and alumni who want to live on campus. It will feature apartments and townhomes, sites for retail operations, and additional restaurant options.

“Residential development at the Research Park will transform it into a contemporary innovation district, recognizing the trend of live-work-play tech ecosytems we are seeing across the United States,” said Laura Frerichs, Executive Director of the University of Illinois Research Park. “Living adjacent to work reduces commutes, promotes sustainability and creates more livelihood and activation of the Research Park.”

The development is consistent with the strategy framed in the Research Park’s 2018 Master Plan, which emphasized the live-work-play philosophy of future expansion.

Research Park Residential and Mixed Use Development

Following an extensive national search, the UIRP Board of Managers selected a joint venture of four Illinois real estate owners/developers to execute the project. Combined, the development team has developed, managed, and/or owned more than 33 million square feet of office, retail, medical or warehouse space and over 25,000 units of residential property and more than 20,000 hotel rooms.

“Together with our partners, Fairlawn Real Estate, The Atkins Group, GEM Realty Capital and the OXFORD Partners Inc, Fox Development is grateful for the opportunity and thrilled to continue to develop the Research Park to be a vibrant place to Live-Work-Play in continued partnership with University of Illinois and University of Illinois Research Park Board of Managers (UIRP),” said Peter Fox, chairman of Fox Development Corporation. “We are eager to start the residential development project that will provide a new LIVE amenity to the Research Park as well as to the rest of the surrounding community. We are grateful to The Atkins Group, our development partner over the past 20 years, and are eager to take the new step with the partners who have shown personal and financial commitment to the Research Park and the University of Illinois over the past 20 years.”

The development will have a phased timeline, with partial completion projected in 2023 and final completion in 2024.

The apartments and townhomes will be situated south of Gerty Drive, between First and Fourth Streets and north of the existing Carle Orthopedics and Sports Medicine facility. The retail and restaurant sites are located at Windsor and Fourth Street.

“Fairlawn is thrilled and honored to be a part of this experienced and creative team,” said Chris Hartman, president of Fairlawn Real Estate. “We’re committed to bringing a one-of-a-kind residential living option to the Research Park and broader Champaign-Urbana community.”

The Research Park’s growth is an instrumental component of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s strategic plan for innovation, industry engagement, and student experiential learning.

“We are committed to supporting the Research Park’s bright future on our campus, which leverages our history of fostering private-public partnership to achieve economic outcomes and meaningful collaborations between our academic and business communities,” said Susan Martinis, Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation.

The project will be finalized with a development agreement with the University of Illinois Research Park, LLC and a ground lease for the land area.

Further information, as well as updates on the project’s progress, will be posted in the Research Park website newsroom.

About Fairlawn Real Estate: Fairlawn Real Estate is a full-service property management firm founded in July 2015 by Chris and Gozen Hartman. Fairlawn manages over 3,600 units and has 85 employees covering several markets in Central Illinois and Indiana. Fairlawn’s current management portfolio consists of 300+ properties, including 80 multi-family buildings/complexes, 200 single family homes/duplexes, and 25 commercial properties.

About Fox Development Corporation:  Established in 1984, Fox Development Corporation specializes in the development and leasing of office and retail property in the Champaign-Urbana area. Fox Development Corporation owns or manages over 1,000,000 square feet of quality office space. Fox Development Corporation has been careful to select businesses and restaurants that complement and add value to its tenants and the community.

About GEM Realty Capital:
Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Chicago, GEM Realty Capital (“GEM”) is a real estate investment company that invests in private-market real estate assets and publicly traded real estate securities through two lines of business, GEM Realty Properties and GEM Realty Securities. GEM has 65 professionals and approximately $5 billion of assets under management on behalf of investors, including pension plans, endowments, foundations, financial institutions, and private clients.

About The Atkins Group (TAG): The Atkins Groups owns prime Champaign County land for development, lease, and sale, with a portfolio concentrated in residential, commercial, industrial, and farm holdings. Decades of know-how, coupled with solid relationships with contractors, vendors, lenders, and economic development officials, have garnered the family owned and operated firm a stellar reputation in the community and industry.

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