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Business and the Economy
Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

IDEA Commons May Be Expanding Over the Next Few Years

Ryan Welch
MSU President Clif Smart speaking at IDEA Commons Friday.

Missouri State University, the Springfield Business Development Corporation and the Vecino Group are looking to expand the IDEA Commons district downtown.

The potential 2-acre site is located at Boonville Ave. and Phelps St. and is partially owned by MSU and the Vecino Group.  The parties have agreed to conduct a study to determine what a new development could entail and the market feasibility. 

On Friday morning, University President Clif Smart told Springfield City Council members the expansion could bring continued success to IDEA Commons.

“How do we leverage the really good work of the last 10 plus years into more job growth, more economic development, more interaction with students, more talent attraction and retention, and how do we further raise the profile of both the university and our community?” Smart asked.

Clif Smart
Credit Ryan Welch / KSMU
Smart (right) with council members looking toward the site of a proposed expansion for IDEA Commons.

IDEA Commons stands for innovation, design, entrepreneurship and the arts. It encompasses the Roy Blunt Jordan Valley Innovation Center (JVIC), the eFactory, and Brick City, which collectively accommodates more than 1,000 employees and students. The university says since it opened 10 years ago more than $130 million has been invested in the area by public and private developers.

Officials say the project could address multiple needs such as additional research labs and office space for JVIC, additional real estate options for growing business startups at the eFactory, additional parking, retail options, and community space.

Smart says in order for the project to move forward the city has to be all in.

“The university, nor the chamber, nor the developer can make this project go without the city commitment.”

Smart, along with other members from the Springfield Business Development Corporation and the Vecino Group, said Friday they believe IDEA Commons is a thriving area and would like to continue to create opportunities for students and entrepreneurs.

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