MHub, Chicago’s hardtech and physical product incubator, has made its move to the Near West Side.
The move to 240 N. Ashland Ave., which has been long discussed, was announced on Thursday. The manufacturing and hardtech innovations center received $50 million in funding for the purchase and construction of the facility.
MHub can use up to $17.55m of tax increment funding (TIF) approved by Chicago City Council on January for eligible renovations costs in the 96-year old, 79,000 square-foot building. The assistance is provided through Kinzie Industrial Corridor district TIF. MHub also received a tax-exempt $15.52m bond from the Illinois Finance Authority. It will receive $9.4m in new market tax credit, $9.57m from other local sources, and a contribution of $1.1m from mHub.
According to Haven Allen (co-founder and CEO of mHub), the location of mHub's new facility in an Opportunity Zone allows mHub expand its venture capital strategies and attract more capital.
He said that both founders and investors would not pay taxes if they invested in capital gains while being based in an Opportunity zone, and... at least half of their employment or revenue-generating activities are in the Opportunity Zone. It's a tax arbitrage we hope will bring more capital.
Allen says that the new facility is a third larger than mHub’s current facility. However, it will be functionally 50% bigger, with the first level dedicated to increasing the incubator's prototype and testing capabilities.
mHub's current lease was due to expire in August. It was time to find a place to move to.
Allen explained that after the site for Chicago's first casino was chosen, about half a mile from their facility, they told them to get creative and look at new locations. They also asked about the size of the building.
Allen said that the new facility is a "generational" investment, not tied to any particular administration.
He said that the only difference would be in who cut the ribbon.
mHub was named to Chicago Inno’s Fire Awards for 2022. Since its launch in 2017, it has supported over 500 startups and 200 manufacturing companies from around the globe, which have generated more than 5,000 new jobs and more than $2.6 Billion in economic activity.