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City Council members peer out the seventh floor of Jordan Valley Innovation Center as they discuss potential economic development plans for IDEA Commons.SBJ photo by SYDNI MOORE
City Council members peer out the seventh floor of Jordan Valley Innovation Center as they discuss potential economic development plans for IDEA Commons.

SBJ photo by SYDNI MOORE

New IDEA Commons development proposed

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Missouri State University, Springfield Business Development Corp., The Vecino Group and the city of Springfield are working on new development ideas within the downtown IDEA Commons district.

MSU and The Vecino Group partially control a 2-acre site at the southeast corner of Boonville Avenue and Phelps Street, where officials say economic development activity could spur the creation of high-quality jobs and reinvestment in center city. The groups presented potential plans to Springfield City Council on Friday before a media briefing later that day at Jordan Valley Innovation Center. Officials could not be reached for comment by deadline this morning on additional details regarding the site, where MSU owns 0.3 acres north of the Touche night club. Greene County assessor data show the owner of the Touche parcel as the Jackie Ballew Trust.

The partners currently are examining the market feasibility for the parcel, which could become:
    •    added research labs and office space for JVIC;
    •    real estate options for business startups at The eFactory;
    •    office space for information technology and other companies;
    •    more parking;
    •    retail options; or
    •    a community space.

The project also includes city participation to evaluate potentially improving the nearby floodplain created by Jordan Valley Creek.

MSU President Clif Smart said IDEA Commons, which began 10 years ago, accommodates over 1,000 employees and students daily. It encompasses activity in the areas of innovation, design, entrepreneurship and the arts, and is home to JVIC, The eFactory and Brick City. Over $130 million has gone into developing IDEA Commons.

“This particular site is situated right in the heart of a vibrant redevelopment district,” said Mat Burton, Vecino Group’s president of public-private partnerships. “IDEA Commons was very much ahead of its time when it started, and our hope is to keep this area flourishing by attracting new jobs and investment to downtown Springfield.”

During the council luncheon when the plans were revealed, Springfield Planning & Development Director Mary Lilly Smith said conversations regarding the project began around Thanksgiving.

Now, the project is in the due diligence phase.

“We’re at the very, very beginning,” Smart said, adding the development could  “change the feel of Springfield.”

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