Groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held Monday on a $164 million industrial park development on Chicago’s Southeast Side.
Commerce Park Chicago is being developed by NorthPoint Development and the Ford Motor Co. at the former site of the Republic Steel plant on South Avenue O. The site has been vacant for 20 years. Developers say it’s the largest industrial park in the city of Chicago.
According to developers, the industrial park includes nearly 200 acres and 2.3 million-square feet of light manufacturing, assembly and logistics space that will support 500 annual construction jobs and up to 1,400 permanent jobs when it’s fully built. The project is near NorthPoint’s adjacent 155-acre supplier park that serves Ford Motor Company’s nearby Torrence Avenue assembly plant, comprising a total of nearly 4 million square feet.
NorthPoint said it recently completed its first of five new industrial buildings on the campus: a 360,000 square feet, 32-acre development at 12144 S. Avenue O. The building is one of five structures of up to 1.1 million square feet that is expected to be completed by 2022. Ford is leasing the first building, which will be used to support its nearby factory.
“Our city, particularly our Southeast Side, has long been a hub for industrial and manufacturing innovation. This impressive Commerce Park Chicago campus will not only build on this history and reputation, but it will also provide much-needed, good-paying, and sustainable jobs for our residents. I am proud to partner with Ford and NorthPoint on this exciting project,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.
In February 2019, Ford said it will spend $1 billion and add 500 jobs in the Chicago area. The automaker said it’s investing $1 billion in its Chicago Assembly and Stamping Plants, adding 500 new full-time jobs that will bring total employment at the two plants to approximately 5,800. Ford said the investment and expansion will allow it to build its Ford Explorer, its Police Interceptor Utility, and the Lincoln Aviator in Chicago.