Yahoo expansion to come to University’s Research Park

Snow covered streets didn’t stop guests of Yahoo’s expansion announcement from attending the event at the I-Hotel on Wednesday.

Yahoo held the ceremony to announce their plans to expand their presence in the University’s Research Park.

“The Research Park has been a great home for Yahoo’s Champaign team, and I know the people love working here at the Yahoo Champaign site for a variety of reasons,” said Senior Engineering Director and Champaign Site Director Catherine Singer at the ceremony.

Yahoo’s Champaign location is one of its main engineering facilities in the U.S. The 40,000 square foot facility will be designed to encourage a fun, collaborative atmosphere, according to Yahoo’s invitation. Yahoo opened the location in 2007, and is the largest employer in Research Park with 90 employees. They anticipate creating at least 80 new jobs with the new facility.

Scott Burke, Yahoo’s senior vice president of advertising technology, is happy to have a location close to the University because of the opportunity for partnerships with students.

“The University has a great history, actually, of being at the innovative edge … Having that kind of attitude and vision about inventing new businesses and ideas, that’s really the most important,” Burke said. “The technical skill is important, and the training, but you have to have a willingness to try new ideas.”

University administrators addented the event, including Chancellor Phyllis Wise.

“I can’t thank (Yahoo) enough for (their) confidence in what we are doing and what we are going to be doing,” Wise said. “The groundbreaking today is truly one more example in the foundation that was built with Yahoo in 2007, and will continue to grow in 2014.”

Mayor Don Gerard is excited about Yahoo’s expansion because he thinks it will help grow Champaign-Urbana’s technology presence, and agreed with Champaign City Council’s plan to pay Yahoo $3 per-square-foot built and $1,000 per new employee hired at a study session in November.

“What we’re trying to do is retain talent. We have the best and brightest passing through, but a lot of them tend to go on to San Francisco or Boston or Chicago or elsewhere,” Gerard said. “This provides them with an opportunity to stay right here in our community.”

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