Amazon is planning to turn an abandoned building in Humboldt Park into a last-mile distribution center, bringing jobs and development to a struggling neighborhood.
The Seattle-based e-commerce giant said it will redevelop the 26-acre site at the northwest corner of Kostner Avenue and Division Street into a 140,000-square foot delivery station, the company said, according to Crain’s, which first reported the plan.
The facility adds to the millions of square feet of space Amazon has built or leased in the Chicago area in recent years, and will provide the neighborhood, hit hard by the pandemic, a fresh job base. Unlike other last-mile distribution centers that create hefty truck traffic nearby residents typically detest, this one may be a welcome relief for West Humboldt Park.
“In addition to bringing much-needed jobs and opportunity for under- and unemployed local residents, it will also inspire renewed hope to already disadvantaged neighborhoods further recently ravaged by the economic shutdowns caused by COVID-19 pandemic,” Alderman Emma Mitts said in a statement provided to Crain’s.
“Long-standing issues of poverty and joblessness are exacerbating positive interest in Amazon’s arrival, to help offset the persistent violence happening in many communities such as Austiin, West Garfield Park and West Humboldt,” she added.
Amazon has been aggressive in its building and leasing efforts in Chicago and the entire state during the last 18 months. As of the end of last year, Amazon had created 36,000 full- and part-time jobs in the city, the company said. Amazon has nine fulfillment centers, eight last-mile distribution sites, one technology hub and one air gateway in Illinois.
But its actions on the city’s south and west sides have been notable because of the strong need for jobs, dubbed a priority for Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West initiative that’s been in place for more than a year.
In March, Amazon said it would pay $45 million to redevelop a 1.5 million-square foot facility in Gage Park in the future. The 70-acre site is the home of Central Steel & Wire, which its parent Ryerson Holdings Corp. will lease back for another two years.
Late last year, an Amazon-leased property also in Gage Park at 3507 West 51st Street, sold for $42 million to GCP, a Santa Monica, California-based investment firm. At 316,550 square feet, the purchase worked out to a pricey $132 per square foot, among the most expensive Chicago industrial sales logged last year.
Among other moves last year, Amazon said it would build two 855,000-square-foot fulfillment centers in south suburban Matteson and Markham.
Amazon took on 11.7 million square feet of industrial space through 21 leases last year, according to a recent report from Colliers, the real estate services firm. That represented nearly one-quarter of all new industrial leases in 2020.
[Chicago Business] – Jennifer Water