CHICAGO (CBS) — Dreams of a new hub for industrial jobs in Hegewisch moved forward on Monday, as Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th) and developers celebrated completion of the first phase of the Commerce Park campus.
It’s an ambitious project to reclaim former manufacturing space at 121st Street and Avenue O on the Southeast Side.
Commerce Park Chicago is now home to a 360,000-square-foot Ford pre-assembly plant, which opened in June. It’s the first building to be completed in the 2.3 million-square foot development on the former site of the Republic Steel plant, which had been vacant for more than two decades.
“They literally took a chance on what used to be an old steel mill,” Garza said. “This land laid vacant and dormant for probably 30 years. It used to be home to Republic Steel; 20,000 men and women worked here. Now, with this new development, we’re gonna put 1,400 people back to work.”
The new Ford pre-assembly facility provides components to be delivered to its nearby assembly plant on Torrence Avenue.
According to the mayor’s office, the $164 million Commerce Park Chicago currently supports 500 construction jobs, and will bring up to 1,400 permanent jobs once it’s complete.
NorthPoint Development is breaking ground on the next phase of the industrial campus, which includes four additional buildings that have no tenants signed up yet.