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Skokie Nanotech Company Closes Shop

Based at the Illinois Science and Technology Park, NanoInk Inc. ‘abruptly’ closed its doors. The company employed some 80 people, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

Skokie-based NanoInk, Inc. closed its doors earlier this month, Crain’s Chicago Business reported. The company was located at the Illinois Science and Technology Park (ISTP). Its biggest backer, Ann Lurie, who is the widow of Sam Zell’s former business partner, Robert Lurie, poured about $150 million over a decade before finally deciding to pull the plug.

Roughly 80 NanoInk employees were “abruptly” told that the company would be closing its doors in three days on Feb. 12, Crain’s reported.

In June 2012, the Village of Skokie aimed at providing nanotechnology courses at Oakton Community College (OCC), among other schools. The village was able to match the grant through downtown Skokie's TIF district.

One of the companies providing equipment to schools was NanoInk.

One of NanoInk’s assets is Nanoprofessor, a laboratory system and education curriculum for universities and schools. The company sold its equipment for about $250,000, according to Crain's.

“It was sad news,” John Carzoli, a physics professor at OCC, told Crain’s. “We’ll use the istruments they provided until we run out of supplies or it breaks down. This seemed to be a perfect tool to train people.”

Trustee on ISTP -

Skokie trustee Randy Roberts describes the ISTP as a very strong “nucleus” for the village’s economic development.

“We're trying to do our share as a partner,” Roberts said in a recent interview. “We want to show we're a good place to do business. I think it would be an attractive place to start your company. I see [the ISTP] being an economic engine for Skokie and the downtown area.

“The people that work [at the ISTP] are making a good salary and I'm hoping many of those people say, ‘Hey, why don't I buy my house here,'” he added. “It's certainly an economic driver. We're never going to see the big box and chain stores in downtown Skokie, but we’ve already started creating a very rich and vibrant, ethnic downtown.”

Read Crain’s full story

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Albert Kretz March 27, 2013 at 12:36 PM
Brian, What exactly was OUR job? Who were the experts related to the technology. Check the site: www.advancedbiosensors.com. We were considering using the NanoInk technology for deposition of an exzyme for a Continuuous Glucose Sensor. Can you tell me of any working instruments and people who may be interested in helping us? Regards, Al Kretz info@advancedbiosensors.com
Brian Hickey March 30, 2013 at 04:53 PM
I wish I could Al. Nothing against Nanotech. As a former Corporate Real Estate Broker of ten years, I witnessed other towns dvevelop "Science and Research Parks".... For the most part ALL of them failed. Towns without good insightful government who haven't a clue on how to re-task or re-develop now vacant large parcels. Evanston launched it's own failed research park about 20 years ago, forcing the relocation of many of it's downtown retail merchants. It plopped with a resounding thud, forcing established retailers to incur much expense and adversity as they relocated their businesses. Not to mention theft of their business focus as they were forced into dealing with the whims of Evanston. And it failed despite the reservoir of bright young minds at Northwestern University which Evanston hoped would be the bulwark of this new park. An Evanston/Northwestern joint venture of sorts. And Skokie draws on....Oakton Community College? Really? No offense intended for students there. In fact Ann Tennes, Skokie's Director of Marketing and Communications, recently quoted the importance of OCC's involvement with the now departed Nano Ink. Really?
Brian Hickey March 30, 2013 at 05:07 PM
She just happens to be one of Mayor Van Dusens's cronies from SWANCC. (Solid Waste agency of Northern Cook County) over which Mayor VD had oversight. Yet Somehow he missed that it's last director, under his oversight, effectively embezzled nearly one million dollars of educational recompense for further education. Whoda thunk it? But our Mayor continues his role as an educator at OCC and his role as Mayor. Truly a man of many hats. Most with gaping holes in them. Seems like Ann is quoting revisionist history to me. But don't get me wrong. I truly feel bad for the now unemployed individuals of Nano Ink. You would be heartless not to feel bad for all the terminated individuals. My issue is that Skokie ever lanched such a lame project. Technology parks have a long history of failure. If you want to build one, for God's sakes, do it in Palo Alto California where it might succeed. But Skokie took the easy route. Rather than committing huge local money to a large parcel that most brokers would tell you ought to have been redeveloped as what's known as a "Lifestyle Center", they sought out funding from Governor Blago and added Skokie's own taxpayer funds to this flop. Lifestyle centers are basically PUDS (Planned Unit Developments) in real estate parlance, with a component of residential and retail use. Undertaking such a large project requires fortitude, vision and a substantial capital commitment. You won't find those entities in current Skokie governance.
Brian Hickey March 30, 2013 at 05:22 PM
To this day, Skokie throws away about another quarter million dollars annually in it's financial commitment to the park. Unlike Ann Lurie, they either cannot or will not terminate their financial investments aimed at creating success. The Park's occupancy is still substantially sub-standard after many years. A local merchant told me a large Japanese pharmaceutical concern is looking to locate or purchase a building within the complex. I pray that's true so that I can appear the ass. I am pretty good at that at times. Or at least in rankling people. If his prediction comes true it would be a huge benefit to our community. It would be like recreating the old days of Searle, or Pharmacia and Upjohn. Regardless, Forest City, the new owners of the parcel, will eventually claim a huge financial benefit for having purchased the property from Pfizer. You see, shortly after having acquired Pfizer's property, Skokie "Up-zoned" the parcel for FC's benefit. They approximately doubled the allowed FAR (floor area ratio) permitted there. In layman's terms this means FC can effectively build twice as much office or developed space on that land. That is like buying Apple stock and watching it's valuation double. Only, it was effectively a gift from the village. All aimed at creating development incentive. Minimally, it greatly increased the property's valuation so that FC ought earn a handsome profit when they eventually sell. Ultimately, small vision, small return.
Katie Gudgel March 30, 2013 at 06:31 PM
If by "she" here, you are still referring to Ann Tennes, she is also currently on the Oakton Community College school board. She is also currently on the ballot as an incumbent - one of 5 people running for 3 positions as Oakton Community College Trustee. For all Skokie voters, there are two contested races - that for Village of Skokie Trustee and that for Oakton Community College Trustee. For some in Skokie, there are also contested races for the elementary school board. However, if you live outside Skokie, it is possible that you may also be able to vote for Oakton Community College Trustee as that district encompasses many northern suburbs.

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