By Derrick Blakley

CHICAGO (CBS) — A Pullman neighborhood is doing something it hasn’t been able to in three decades. The community welcomed the first factory to the area since 1985.

CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports the area has a rich industrial history, with Pullman rail cars being manufactured not far away and the site at 111th and Ellis Avenue used to be Ryerson Steel, but now there is a new kind of manufacturing there, that is both clean and green.

They are calling it the South Side Soap Box, but the sparkling new Method Products plant is about a whole lot more than just soap.

“I would love to just see this place be the flagship of the Pullman area coming back,” said employee Norman Womack.

The 150,000 square foot factory will provide 100 jobs producing environmental-friendly cleaning products.

“We also hope that this building can act as a showcase for a new model of open, mindful and responsible manufacturing,” said Method Products Chairman Jonathan Bond.

With a giant wind turbine on the outside combined with several solar panels in the parking lot and more on the roof, 40 percent of the plant’s power will come from renewable energy, and that is not all.

There is a 75,000 square foot greenhouse on the roof that will provide 500 tons of fresh fruits and vegetable each year for an area once described as a food desert.
It’s a coup for Mayor Emanuel against stiff competition.

“There were 150 sites around the country that this plant could have gone,” Emanuel said.

The impact is already being felt.

“Crime is down 24 percent,” said 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale. “Violent crime is down 44 percent. That is because we are putting people to work.”

Beale was also referencing a Walmart Center that recently opened near the site, bring in 600 jobs.

Derrick Blakley