The Real Deal Chicago

Chinese manufacturer spends $87M on CTA rail car plant

CenterPoint Properties developed the massive facility on the Southeast Side
By John O’Brien |
Research by Laura Hanrahan
July 03, 2018 12:00PM

Left to Right: Hualong Liu of CRRC, the interior of the CTA rail car plant, and renderings of 13535 South Torrence Avenue (Credit: Twitter and CenterPoint)

Chinese manufacturer CRRC Sifang America bought the CTA rail car plant it will operate on the Southeast Side for $87 million from developer CenterPoint Properties.

Cook County records show the developer last month officially transferred the property to the state-owned Chinese firm after completing the 380,000-square-foot complex on 45 acres at 13535 South Torrence Avenue in the Hegewisch neighborhood.

CenterPoint started work on the roughly $40 million project in spring 2017 in its Chicago Manufacturing Campus.

CRRC Sifang was reportedly investing $100 million in the facility after winning a $1.3 billion contract to build up to 846 new rail cars over 10 years for the CTA, the Chicago Tribune reported at the time.

The quieter and smoother “7000 Series” cars will have 37 or 38 seats, LED lighting, security cameras and other features, according to Curbed. The plant was expected to create 170 jobs.

Production was expected to begin early next year, with the first new cars hitting the rails by 2020.

CenterPoint’s Hegewisch campus is not far from a Ford assembly plant in an area with a long manufacturing history, despite severe blows from the closure of Southeast Side steel mills in the 1980s and 1990s.