Residents ramp up fight against IDI’s warehouse demolition plan 

Redevelopment opposed in North Lawndale, a majority Black community that is “already dealing with an overburdened trucking environment”

Residents Battle IDI’s West Side Warehouse Redevelopment
IDI Logistics’ Mark Saturno and site of planned demolition at 4115 W. Ogden Avenue in Chicago (Google Maps, IDI Logistics)

Opposition is heating up against IDI Logistics’ plan to demolish a dozen historic warehouses on Chicago’s West Side to make way for a 246,000-square-foot distribution facility.

North Lawndale residents are rallying to halt the proposal, amid concerns about the destruction of historically significant buildings and potential health risks associated with increased diesel truck traffic, the Chicago Sun-Times reported

The $44 million proposal, covering more than 15 acres along West Ogden Avenue between Pulaski Road and Keeler Avenue, will be reviewed by the Chicago Plan Commission on Thursday. 

Preservationists have highlighted the historical value of the century-old buildings, which include a 1916 Prairie School-style building and a pair of 1918 buildings designed by prominent Chicago architect Alfred Alschuler.

Atlanta-based IDI has faced criticism over poor communication with residents. Lifelong resident Rochelle Jackson revealed she learned about the project only recently, feeling excluded from the process. During a community meeting, residents voiced skepticism about the project’s benefits, suggesting it primarily serves the developers’ interests.

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Resident Norvetta Landon has filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court to prevent the demolition, seeking support from environmental or preservation groups. She is particularly worried about the safe removal of hazardous materials, like lead and asbestos, and the safety of children who would pass by the construction site.

Alderman Michael Rodriguez, whose 22nd Ward encompasses the site, said he will oppose the project if it involves a substantial trucking distribution facility. He advocates for manufacturing operations that provide higher-paid, career-oriented jobs with less truck traffic, in “a community already dealing with an overburdened trucking environment.”

North Lawndale is an 80 percent Black community that is losing residents. Its 2020 population of just under 35,000 represented a decrease of 16.7 percent from 2000, according to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. 

Preservationists opposed to the IDI project argue that the historic buildings, such as the Western Felt Works building and former Turner Manufacturing sites, could be repurposed for small business incubators, fostering local economic growth. 

“We want to grow this city in a very healthy way,” Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago, told the outlet. “Our mission is rebuilding some of these communities that have suffered from severe disinvestment.”

—Quinn Donoghue

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