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Tech center marks 20 years of startups

Evanston's Technology Innovation Center -- now financially independent of Northwestern and the City -- is marking its 20th year of providing advice and a home for new businesses. The Chicago Sun-Times reports the center now has nearly 50 companies with over 200 employees at its two Evanston locations.

Brits buy Church Street Plaza stake

The London-based Grosvenor Group, a real estate investment firm led by the Duke of Westminster, reportedly is acquiring just under half ownership of the Church Street Plaza development, which includes the Century Theatres complex and the Borders Books and Music store.
Crain's Chicago Business estimates the value of the deal at around $30 million. The developer of the complex, Arthur Hill, retains the remainder of the ownership interest.

Northfield Labs stock soars as it completes blood substitute tests

Evanston-based Northfield Laboratories has completed final patient tests of its blood substitute PolyHeme. Crain's Chicago Business reports some observers believe that, with government approvals, the product could be in use in hospital trauma centers by early 2008.

Company officials have forecast up to $500 million in annual U.S. sales for the product, but one analyst sees a potential worldwide market demand of up to $4 billion.

Bank that began in Evanston is for sale

Privately held GreatBanc Inc. is up for sale, Crain's Chicago Business reports. The bank, founded in 1914 as Evanston Bank, now is parent to three separate Chicago-area banks. One of those, GreatBank Chicago, has a branch in Evanston at Main Street and Chicago Avenue, across the street from the bank's original location.

Crain's says experts believe the bank, with $1.2 billion in assets, will likely sell for about $200 million.

Trader Joe's rejects Osco site

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, reports on her message board that Trader Joe's has told city officials the company is no longer interested in opening a store at the former Osco Drugs location at Oakton Street and Asbury Avenue.

Ald. Rainey says company officials told the city the site is too far south in the market area and that they would like to be close to another large grocery store.