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mHUB investing $50 million to build ‘largest independent manufacturing center in America’

Historic 80,000 sq ft facility in Chicago Near West Side Opportunity Zone will expand to make mHUB the ‘largest independent manufacturing center in US’

Manufacturing and “hardtech” innovation center, mHUB, is investing $50 million in the acquisition and build-out of a historic manufacturing facility within Chicago’s Kinzie Industrial Corridor on the city’s Near West Side.

The building is located within a designated Opportunity Zone and planned manufacturing district on a 2-acre site that will increase mHUB’s prototyping and testing facilities and office and convening spaces to become the largest independent manufacturing innovation center in the country.

Launched in 2017, mHUB has supported over 500+ startups and 200 manufacturers from all over the world that have created 5,000+ jobs and generated over $2.6 billion of economic activity.

Collaboration between startups, industry, and investors has accelerated the commercialization of early-stage physical products in areas such as advanced and sustainable manufacturing, climate and energy tech, medical devices, and more.

The organization has strong ties to the Midwest regions’ universities and research institutions as well as an established network of contract manufacturers.

The $50 million building acquisition and renovation is part of public financing organized by mHUB to advance manufacturing and cleantech innovation in Illinois.

The package includes $17.55 million in TIF funding from the City of Chicago; a $15.52 million tax exempt bond issued by the Illinois Finance Authority, organized by Cabrera Investments, and purchased by Nuveen Investments; $9.4M in new market tax credits; $9.57 million from other local sources; and a $1.1 million contribution from mHUB.

On the heels of historic Illinois policy achievements with the Clean Equitable Jobs Act, REV Act, and $400 million tax incentive package for cleantech manufacturing, the mHUB expansion will help accelerate the commercialization of new tech solutions to address global challenges, institute an economic development engine in Illinois, and position the state for federal funding through efforts such as the CHIPS Act, Inflation Reduction Act, and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

It will initiate one of the primary investments of the nationally recognized Clean Tech Economy Coalition (CTEC) alliance that is focused on commercializing energy infrastructure, grid modernization, and long-energy storage technologies.

Haven Allen, CEO and co-founder of mHUB, says: “This historic investment will help drive Illinois and the nation’s global leadership in hardtech, and particularly around the commercialization of clean and sustainable technologies.

“It will create an anchor institution in Chicago to execute on its commitments leading the nation’s reemergence and manufacturing legacy. It’s made possible through broad collaboration of the private sector, strong leadership at the city and state, and ongoing engagement with the federal government.”

In addition to establishing Illinois as a global leader in the clean energy transition, supporters recognize the mHUB expansion as an opportunity to improve access and create generational wealth for underrepresented founders and low-income communities through the building’s location within a designated Opportunity Zone.

The deliberate decision to place mHUB within an Opportunity Zone will ensure greater access to its programming for underrepresented founders on Chicago’s south and west sides.

The location will enable mHUB to expand its venture capital strategy through a series of venture funds, direct investing, and opportunity zone real estate and equity investing.

mHUB’s 250+ existing startups relocating to the new building can immediately begin capitalizing on opportunity zone venture capital.

Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, says: “With this historic investment, mHUB is graduating from an economic development initiative to an essential economic development institution that will create positive impacts in our city for years to come.

“mHUB has demonstrated its long-term commitment to Chicago’s future and to delivering equitable outcomes. We look forward to seeing this new center become a beacon to bridge all communities around industry growth and opportunity.”

In addition to greater accessibility to Chicago’s south and west sides physically, the mHUB relocation will support the acceleration of an $8 million fundraising campaign for its Catalyze Initiative, a suite of programs to drive a diverse and equitable economic development model.

To date, Catalyze has received $2.45 million in support from Landis Family Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, We Rise Together, Bank of America, Christopher Family Foundation, and federal congressionally directed spending appropriation.

Michael Fassnacht, president and CEO of World Business Chicago and chief marketing officer for the City of Chicago, says: “mHUB has quickly ascended as a national model for inclusively building industries of the future.

“It’s leadership within manufacturing provides Chicago with a unique competitive advantage and prominent national role in building our regional economy while creating opportunities for wealth and jobs for all.”

The mHUB expansion has garnered interest from the private sector with alignment to organizations that recognize this project as a vehicle for collaborating with stakeholders across the clean energy, manufacturing, community development, and innovation landscapes.

Michael Polsky, founder and CEO of Invenergy, says: “At Invenergy, we’ve seen and proven the value of building long-lasting partnerships to help reclaim America’s position as a technology and manufacturing leader, in the energy sector and beyond.

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with mHUB to advance early-stage technologies and congratulate them on this important expansion which will create jobs, help build a more sustainable world, and drive US competitiveness for years to come.”

mHUB’s expected impact over the next five years includes supporting over 450 new startups and existing manufacturers in creating 4,500+ direct jobs, generating over $2.1 billion in revenue, securing over 550 patents, and attracting $1.95 billion in investment.

This economic activity is estimated to drive a cumulative impact of $49 million in state income tax, $228 million in federal income tax, and $13 million in sales tax.

Supporting the acquisition and redevelopment of the property is JLL, Gensler, Executive Construction Inc, Syska Hennessy Group, Cabrera Investments, Eversheds Sutherland, Baker Tilly, Applegate Thorne-Thomsen, IFF, Commercial Club of Chicago, Alderman Walter Burnett, and World Business Chicago.

The building plan and capital investments were informed through a series of focus groups with over 20 hardtech startups, manufacturers, and key industry partners such as Argonne National Lab, Evergreen Climate Innovations, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Illinois, National Society of Black Engineers, University of Chicago, and Northwestern University.

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