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Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Innovation and Research Park

Creative financing enables university and industry life science collaborations

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At Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, a private institution in North Chicago, Illinois, space limitations were inhibiting growth.

In an effort to expand, the University wanted to develop a research and innovation park with space for researchers and startup companies.

But to transform that vision into reality, Rosalind Franklin needed an experienced real estate and financing partner. They also needed someone who understood the challenges faced by universities in developing new facilities.

Through an innovative financing strategy, TUFF helped Rosalind Franklin pursue its vision.

In TUFF, Rosalind Franklin found not only development and financial expertise – they found someone who understood how to integrate the research park into the greater campus community. TUFF also helped the University restructure its balance sheet, receive a rating, and reduce financial constraints.

Following a feasibility study for a new 100,000 square foot research park, TUFF determined the facility would cost approximately $50 million to develop. While bond financing would cover $37.5 million of that amount, the University was still short $12.5 million.

The solution to the funding shortfall? The New Markets Tax Credit Program.

Rosalind Franklin is located in a community with an 18.2% unemployment rate and where 15.8% of residents live below the poverty line. The New Markets Tax Credits Program allows distressed communities like these to attract equity investments by providing a 39% tax credit to the investors. By helping the University take advantage of the program, TUFF closed the $12.5 million funding gap.

Today, Rosalind Franklin is poised to develop the facilities they need. Without the New Markets Tax Credit Program – and TUFF’s leadership – it would not have been possible.

A path to future growth and an opportunity for North Chicago

The $50 million facility is Phase 1 of a multi-phase research and innovation park. Ultimately, the success of Phase 1 will support the future phases by attracting the private investment needed to fund development.

With Phase 1 complete, Rosalind Franklin will be in a position to:

  • Expand the development of globally significant medical therapies
  • Accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries into real-life therapies
  • Accommodate startups and biotechnology firms alongside academic researchers

The North Chicago community will benefit too. The new research park is predicted to create over 1,000 new jobs in the area, 40% of which are anticipated to go to minorities, women, and veterans.

Facility Specifications

  • 100,000 total square feet
  • 35,000 square feet for startups and entrepreneurs
  • Research, laboratory, and office facilities