Deerfield residents fight Bridge’s 101-acre industrial project 

Developer wants to build three warehouses totalling 1.3 million sf

Bridge Industrial’s Steve Poulos and the Baxter HQ campus at 1 Baxter Parkway (Getty, Bridge Industrial, Google Maps)
Bridge Industrial’s Steve Poulos and the Baxter HQ campus at 1 Baxter Parkway (Getty, Bridge Industrial, Google Maps)

Bridge Industrial’s proposal for a sprawling redevelopment project in Deerfield that would tear down a 10-building office campus to make way for warehouses is on hold after a sea of local residents showed up to a recent board meeting in opposition of the plan. 

The Steve Poulos-led firm wants to demolish the offices of healthcare company Baxter International’s headquarters to build a logistics park spanning 101 acres, signaling the continued industrial real estate boom in Chicago, Crain’s reported. Deerfield residents have pushed back, though, worried that the site would bring unwanted truck traffic, noise and pollution to the north suburb.

Bridge Industrial was scheduled to present its plans to the village’s plan commission on Thursday, April 27, but hundreds flocked to the Deerfield Village Hall, forcing officials to postpone the hearing to May 11. The public meeting will likely occur at Deerfield High School or another venue that can accommodate the large crowd.

Bridge is rumored to have agreed to pay Baxter between $90 million and $100 million for the site. Located between Saunders Road and Interstate 94/294 north of Lake Cook Road, the developer wants to build three warehouses spanning 1.3 million square feet, one being planned as a recreational facility that could either be leased by the Deerfield Park District or converted to industrial use.

The project reflects the rise of Chicago’s industrial sector, which has performed significantly better than office and retail sectors that are still struggling to recover from the pandemic. With remote working trends remaining in effect, along with the popularity of online shopping, companies are seeking large warehouse spaces and distribution centers as the commercial property market pivots.

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Other large office-to-industrial conversion projects in the Chicago area include Dermody Properties’ $232 million acquisition of Allstate’s 232-acre corporate campus at 2775 Sanders Road in Glenview. The site will eventually comprise a 10-building, 3.2 million-square-foot logistics park.

Local industrial developer Brennan jumped on the trend, too, with a deal to buy a Rolling Meadows office building out of a $30 million foreclosure lawsuit to eventually tear it down and erect a multi-building warehouse campus at a cost of $100 million or more.

The pushback against the Baxter redevelopment stems from a nearby neighborhood  with more than 300 homes located in the neighboring municipality of Riverwoods. More than 3,200 signatures have been gathered in a petition that opposes the plan. 

Bridge needs approval from both the Deerfield Plan Commission and the village’s board of trustees to rezone and annex the land before moving forward with sitework.

— Quinn Donoghue