It boggles my mind how this 160 acre man-made island minutes from Chicago's Loop has flown under the radar for so long. Not only is it just a couple miles from the hustle and bustle of downtown, but it's also surrounded by some of the City's most popular neighborhoods (re: talent.)
From the start, Goose Island was an innovative idea: Chicago's first mayor (and very successful businessman) William Ogden realized the opportunity of connecting the river with railroad infrastructure, and led his company to dredge a canal on the East side of the land to make way for more river and rail connections. History holds that Ogden hired a young lawyer from Springfield, Illinois by the name of Abraham Lincoln to help him clear property titles on the river.
After originally being referred to as 'Ogden Island' some parts of the island also earned the nickname "Little Hell", which referred to the flames that rose from the heavy-industrial area.
(Luckily) times have changed, and so has the island. Sure the island is home to many geese, but it's recently also become home to many technology and innovation-focused companies and projects. Goose Island is book-ended by the Wrigley Global Innovation HQ on the North and Kendall College on the South. When UI LABS announced it was bringing its federally-funded digital manufacturing institute to island, it was only days later that R2 announced it had bought real estate on the island with hopes to house one or two tech tenants.
After another R2 investment came Amazon and a virtual blanket of free Wi-Fi from Comcast. Trunk Club and fresh lunch-and-dinner-delivery startup Sprig also call the island home, in addition to tons of other tech-related companies.
And this is only the beginning of Innovation Island.
What tenants will move into the new construction projects? What will come of the Naru Project? What's a project that community members will work together on to complete?
I hope to use this website as a landing page for all of that excitement and more. I also plan on delving into important topics like transportation, food options, and transportation again (cough cough, Divvy, cough.)
It's my goal to share the excitement about the opportunity of Innovation Island with anyone who will listen. Thanks for reading -- I hope you'll visit again!
Also keep up to date with happenings on the Island by following on Twitter at @InnovIsland!