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Opportunity Zone Investors Look to Fuel Tech in Chicago

One venture plans to fund a 100-acre campus for tech, bioscience, and medical research in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood.
April 28, 2019, 7am PDT | Elana Eden
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Ben Sutherland

Ryan Ori of the Chicago Tribune reports on a venture seeking to invest $1 billion in Opportunity Zones primarily in Chicago, beginning with the former Michael Reese Hospital site in Bronzeville.

Decennial Group consists of Scott Goodman, a founder of Sterling Bay and Farpoint Development, and Steve Glickman, a former Obama adviser who helped author the Opportunity Zone legislation and is now a consultant for potential Opportunity Zone investors.

Theirs is not the first attempt to redevelop the site of the Michael Reese Hospital, which was demolished in 2009. The property was part of Chicago's failed bid for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games, and considered for Amazon's second headquarters. Decennial's project would bring "medical lab space, offices, incubator and accelerator spaces for science and technology startups, data centers, apartments, senior housing and retail" to the 100 acres on and around the site, to be powered by renewable energy.

Bioscience and technology infrastructure—that is, data storage centers to support high-tech functions like autonomous vehicles and 5G networks—are likely to lead investors' interest in the 135 Opportunity Zones are distributed throughout Chicago's South and West sides, according Ori. "It remains to be seen whether benefits of the program will trickle down to Chicago's most challenged areas," he notes.

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