Development History

The Research Park’s evolution has been significantly influenced by its relationship with Champaign-based developer Fox/Atkins Development, LLC.

The University of Illinois competitively selected a private development partner for the Research Park in 2000 and 2011. 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, was the developer of the University of Illinois Research Park for 20 years.

Fox/Atkins has constructed 16 of the Research Park’s 18 buildings, transforming the land from fish ponds, agricultural fields and livestock barns to a thriving, supportive environment for the modern tech workforce.

“Having them partner with the University (in 2000) was really critical to being able to even move forward with the vision and the dream,” said Ed McMillan, a University of Illinois trustee and longtime chair of the UIRP Board of Managers.

Another 10-year developer agreement was signed in early 2011 and expired on May 12, 2021.

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.

Fox Development Corporation (FDC) is a real estate development firm located in Champaign. Established in 1984, Fox Development Corporation specializes in the development and leasing of office and retail property in the Champaign-Urbana area.

The Atkins Group is a family-owned and operated enterprise that has actively been engaged in real estate for over three decades. The Atkins Group owns prime Champaign County land for development, lease and sale. Its portfolio is concentrated in residential, commercial, industrial and farm holdings.