Mars Wrigley plans $40M research and development hub for Goose Island

New facility will rise next to Mars’ existing innovation center on the island

Mars Wrigley CEO Grant Reid and a rendering of the research and development hub (Mars Wrigley)
Mars Wrigley CEO Grant Reid and a rendering of the research and development hub (Mars Wrigley)

Mars Wrigley is planning to build a $40 million research and development hub on Goose Island, a 160-acre artificial island in the middle of Chicago.

The candy maker, best known for producing candies such as Snickers, Twix, M&Ms, Life Savers and Skittles, announced plans for the new facility to rise next to its existing innovation center at 1132 West Blackhawk Street, Crain’s reported.

Mars Wrigley’s plans to expand on Goose Island come just months after the company announced it would be winding down operations at its chocolate plant in Galewood over the next two years.

Parent company Mars has facilities all over the Chicago area. A facility on the West Side makes Snickers and other chocolate bars, an ice cream plant in Burr Ridge produces Dovebars and candy-filled ice cream sandwiches, and a production facility in Yorkville makes Life Savers and Skittles.

The company employs about 950 people across Mars Wrigley, Mars Food and Mars Global Services. The new facility will add about 30 more jobs.

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Mars bought gum maker Wrigley for $23 billion in 2008, leading to the creation of one of the largest candy companies in the world.

Construction on the new $40 million research and development facility is expected to begin this summer and be completed by summer 2023.

Nicknamed “Little Hell” because of the smoke produced by the plants, Goose Island lost a lot of its residents in the 19th century when it became popular for industrial uses.

Recently, the island has been experiencing a bit of a development renaissance, with a new focus by builders and the city. Plans for a new 48-story tower on Goose Island moved closer to reality last September when the Chicago City Council voted to rezone the land at 901 N Halsted Street for residential use for the mixed-use development.

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[CCB] — Victoria Pruitt