PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Business leaders “gathered” virtually Wednesday to announce a $10 million grant is funding the rebranding of Peoria Innovation Hub.
The innovation and entrepreneurial center will now be called Distillery Lab. It will be located at the Thomas Building in downtown Peoria. Leaders say it will be a “tech, innovation, and incubation community designed to foster opportunity throughout the Peoria region.”
“I’m so excited about the progress and the potential for Distillery Labs,” said Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey, President of Illinois Central College. “As ICC, we’re proud of our ability to be involved with this process and find a thriving new use for this building. More importantly, we’re optimistic about the work that Distillery Labs will do around workforce development and creating an opportunity for a new generation of employees in and around Peoria. That is a central focus of our work, and we’re looking forward to the partnership with Distillery Labs on this effort.”
Some elements being considered for Distillery Labs to include:
● Makerspace with machinery: Facilities for manufacturing prototypes with equipment such as lathes, drill presses, and laser cutters, plus equipment for 3D printing and modeling for artistic and fashion-related disciplines.
● Digital makerspace: Virtual reality software and simulation devices that would build on the advances within OSF HealthCare and the city’s simulation, gaming, and virtual reality innovation groups.
● Computing infrastructure: Cloud computing, server architecture, and data integration would allow for the creation of advanced applications to fuel creative pathways including artificial intelligence (AI) to expand information management and analytics.
● A rooftop greenhouse to experiment with urban farming and hydroponic techniques. A commercial kitchen for piloting a food pharmacy and restaurant concept testing, along with new and different food preparation methods. Classrooms for conventional courses for new entrepreneurs and students from higher education partners and the community.
● Office space, classrooms, and conference rooms for entrepreneurs, startups, and satellite offices for larger corporations that want to access resources of the Discovery Partners Institute and IIN.
The facility is expected to open 2020.