The Community Foundation of the Ozarks has committed $1.6 million to support a public-private partnership with Missouri State University and the Vecino Group to expand the Jordan Valley Innovation Center in downtown Springfield.
The CFO’s commitment is through its Mission-Related Investment program, which makes below-market loans to help finance projects with a public purpose. Often, the MRI program is used to help complete or close gaps with traditional financing options. This loan to the MSU Foundation is anticipated to be repaid in a year.
The $14.3 million expansion includes a new 30,000-square-foot building to create more space for MSU’s Jordan Valley Innovation Center, as part of an overall IDEA Commons development. The IDEA Commons project also includes a vision for a 100,000-square-foot office building, 400-space parking garage and a park for added greenspace. The new development will greatly enhance IDEA Commons, which represents MSU’s innovation district along Boonville Avenue north of Park Central Square where it focuses on blending innovation, design, entrepreneurship and arts programs.
“The Jordan Valley Innovation Center is a remarkable example of forward-looking, well-paying jobs that are creating a strong anchor for downtown Springfield’s economy,” CFO President Brian Fogle said. “That’s why we refer to our MRI program as a ‘double-bottom line,’ where the CFO recoups its investment for future projects while supporting development that will pay dividends for the community as a whole.”
MSU began working on the project in 2017 with the Vecino Group, a Springfield-based real-estate development firm that focuses on community development projects. The original plans have been further enhanced now that the IDEA Commons will bookend the north end of the Grant Avenue Parkway, a grant-funded City of Springfield multi-use corridor; and the City is moving ahead with plans to daylight Jordan Creek in that area of downtown.
“In this challenging financial time caused by the pandemic, we certainly appreciate the partnership with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks in assisting in this important community/university partnership,” said Brent Dunn, Executive Director of the Missouri State University Foundation.
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