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Huge Distribution Warehouse At Old Crawford Coal Plant Site In Little Village Gets Zoning Approval

Despite opposition, the $100 million project is expected to go before City Council Thursday.

A rendering shows what the distribution center will look like.
Hilco Redevelopment Partners
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CHICAGO — The City Council’s Committee on Zoning approved a proposal to transform a former coal-fired power plant in Little Village into a massive distribution center on the city’s Southwest Side.

The zoning was approved after a unanimous vote and is expected to be heard before the full City Council Thursday.

During the zoning hearing, Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd) and Little Village Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jamie di Paulo spoke briefly in support of the 1-million-square-foot warehouse and distribution center, which received no opposition during the meeting. 

The approval comes nearly a week after the $100 million project received a unanimous vote from the Plan Commission, which drew vehement opposition from community members.

Opponents of the plan said the new warehouse would increase diesel congestion and have a drastic impact on the health of Little Village residents.

Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) Executive Director Kim Wasserman said the 200 trucks the distribution center is expected to add to the streets around 35th Street and Pulaski Road would make the already-polluted air that her children breathe worse.

“We already have elevated levels of particulates in the air,” Wasserman said. “This will make it astronomical.”

Last month,  Hilco Development Partners unveiled plans to create a 1-million-square-foot warehouse and distribution center at the former Crawford Generating Station site.

The $100 million project, called Exchange 55, is expected to be used as a distribution site for e-commerce and logistics companies, Hilco CEO Roberto Perez told Little Village residents during the meetings.

The Crawford Power Plant was shut down in 2012 after community-led efforts raised concerns about the impact coal pollution was having on the health of Little Village residents. The Northbrook-based company purchased the 70-acre site in the Little Village Industrial Corridor in 2017.

Hilco plans to begin demolition later this year and remediate the land in 2019. If all goes well, the project is expected to be completed in 2020.

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