EXPANDING IDEA COMMONS
With many of the district’s original, historic buildings already rehabilitated, the district is looking to what’s next. Through a public-private partnership between Missouri State University, The Vecino Group, the Springfield Business Development Corporation and the City of Springfield, plans have taken shape to further transform IDEA Commons with the expansion of current buildings, the addition of new structures, green space, and more.
Like everything else related to IDEA Commons, collaboration and partnerships will be what make it possible.
The U.S. Economic Development Administration has shown strong support for the IDEA Commons district and it’s collaborative model. In 2019 the federal entity recently awarded a $1.25 million grant to Missouri State University to allow for the much-needed expansion of the efactory’s programs inside the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center. The efactory matched these funds 1:1 for a $2.5 million project that added eight more private offices for startups and increased training, conference and collaboration space on the building’s second floor.
In total more than 16,000 square feet was added to the efactory’s footprint in 2020 and 2021. The program now has nearly 40 private offices to host startups along with a 4,000+ world-class training and event space.
The district’s high-tech research facility is undergoing a 30,000 square foot expansion to support the continued growth of its research programs and affiliates.
Work on the expansion to the Jordan Valley Innovation Center began in the summer of 2021. The additional 30,000 square feet facility will be home to the Brewer Science Innovation Annex.
Another important element of expanding the IDEA Commons district is the construction of a new, 100,000 square-foot office building.
This proposed development will host modern offices, retail space, commercial storefronts, and a district welcome center. The addition will blend with older historic structures, bringing even more workers, students, and tourists to the revitalized district.
There are plans to include meaningful green space and other outdoor gathering areas as part of the district’s expansion.
These pathways, park settings, and public art spaces will improve beautification and further connect the district to the nearby downtown square.
In tandem with the construction of the new commercial office space building is the creation of a 400-space parking garage. This structure will allow for ample parking as residents and visitors make their way to IDEA Commons.
With so much energy and momentum coalescing around IDEA Commons, the perfect opportunity presented itself for the City of Springfield to begin serious conversations about daylighting Jordan Creek in downtown Springfield. Renew Jordan Creek has been talked about for years in Springfield – and with the addition of new buildings, new activity and new investment in the area the timing couldn’t be better.
The Jordan Creek currently runs underground directly through the IDEA Commons district. Plans to daylight the creek have been a recurring theme in the City of Springfield’s Forward SGF comprehensive planning effort that kicked off in 2019 and wrapped up in 2020. The commitment from partners like the City of Springfield to continue to make improvements and add features such as these adjacent to and inside the IDEA Commons district demonstrates the entire community’s commitment to the vision and success of the area. This work will further connect downtown and IDEA Commons to the Grant Avenue Parkway and Wonders of Wildlife.