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Ozinga Could Build New Plant On Southeast Side

A worker controls a cement mixer producing the concrete.  (Photo credit: JOCHEN LUEBKE/AFP/Getty Images)

A worker controls a cement mixer producing the concrete. (Photo credit: JOCHEN LUEBKE/AFP/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (STMW) – Ready-mix concrete company Ozinga Bros. is considering building a cement plant on the Southeast Side, but it also has been wooed by Indiana officials to locate the plant in that state.

Building the $250 million plant would create almost 100 jobs and secure a more reliable supply of cement for Ozinga, Marty Ozinga IV, executive vice president of the company’s Chicago division, said Wednesday.

Construction of the plant could start sometime next year, but Mokena-based Ozinga Bros. is waiting on approval of its plans from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

The plant would be off South Torrence Avenue at Lake Calumet. The site, which was a former Cargill grain elevator, was bought by Ozinga Bros. in 2004, Ozinga said.

He said worldwide consolidation among cement and concrete producers has made it more difficult for firms such as his family’s to compete. The business was started in Evergreen Park in 1928.

“The trend across the world is vertical integration,” he said, noting that major concrete suppliers are also producing the cement used in their products. “We feel that if we’re not vertically integrated, we won’t be able to compete.”

He said Ozinga Bros.’ major competitor for concrete jobs in the Chicago area, Bridge­view-based Prairie Materials, is owned by an arm of a Brazilian industrial group, with cement for its ready-mix plants coming from Michigan. Having a dedicated cement supply gives Prairie an advantage in bidding for jobs.

Ozinga Bros. has 20 ready-mix plants in Illinois and seven in Indiana. Before the recession, it had to rely on cement imports from South Korea and Thailand because of an overall shortage in the United States.

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