Research park anniversary event Thursday

Research park anniversary event Thursday

CHAMPAIGN — The University of Illinois will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its research park Thursday by renaming the former Motorola building for local developer Clint Atkins.

A new mural inside the building will be unveiled, showing Mr. Atkins, who died in April, and some of his projects.

The dedication of the Atkins Building — formerly known as the Gateway Building at 1800 S. Oak St., C — will be at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, followed by the park's anniversary ceremony at 5 p.m., at which UI President Michael Hogan will speak.

The ceremonies will be preceded by tours of the research park from 3 to 4:30 p.m. The events are open to the public, and those interested in attending can reserve a space by registering online at

The first buildings in the park — the Atkins Building and the SAIC Building — were finished in 2001. In the 10 years since, it has grown to include 12 buildings housing more than 90 companies.

About 1,235 people work in the park, developed for the UI by Fox/Atkins Development. That includes 871 full-time jobs and 364 student jobs. The park says another 241 jobs are indirectly related through enterprises that supply goods and services to the park.

Among park tenants, Yahoo employs the largest full-time staff, with about 90 employees, park Director Laura Frerichs said. But State Farm and Caterpillar, which have contract employees as well as their own, probably have the largest overall staffs if part-time workers are included. Each has in the range of 90 to 100 workers, Frerichs said.

About a dozen public corporations have offices in the research park. Some of them include Deere and Co., ADM, Raytheon and Abbott Labs.

The park is also home to small start-up companies, some of which have only one employee. Several of those are in EnterpriseWorks, the business incubator.

More companies could be on the way soon. Frerichs said the park is awaiting word from a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange that is expected to begin operations in the park in 2012.

The most recent addition to the park is the Technology Development and Fabrication Center III building on Hazelwood Drive, east of First Street. The 20,000-square-foot building will house expanded facilities for iCyt, a flow cyto- metry company that's a division of Sony.

Two other buildings of 70,000 and 40,000 square feet are planned south of the I Hotel and Conference Center and north of Hazelwood Drive. The park has yet to determine which will be built first.

Over the park's 10-year history, it has had 127 startup companies in EnterpriseWorks and 75 tenants elsewhere in the research park. Of the 127 companies that started at EnterpriseWorks, 28 percent are no longer in active operation.

Of companies that "graduated" from EnterpriseWorks, 78 percent are still in Illinois, 65 percent in Champaign County and 30 percent in the research park.

Representatives of State Farm, Caterpillar, Starfire Industries and Tetravitae Bioscience will be among those speaking at the 10th anniversary ceremony. Warren Ribley, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, will also speak briefly.

Tours of the park will include stops at iCyt, Chromatin, Littelfuse, John Deere, State Farm and Yahoo, as well as EnterpriseWorks tenants Cazoodle, Nuvixa, IPT and ImmuVen.