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Pilsen, Little Village, West Loop

Hilco Starts Final Phase Of Crawford Coal Plant Demolition Despite Outrage From Neighbors

All demolition work is expected to be completed by September, clearing the way for a 1-million-square-foot logistics facility for Target.

Hilco Redevelopment Partners is demolishing the old Crawford Coal Plant in Little Village.
Zoom/City of Chicago
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LITTLE VILLAGE — After a tumultuous few months, Hilco is set to begin the final phase of demolition of the old Crawford Coal Plant site Monday, despite continued objections from neighbors and activists.

Hilco Redevelopment Partners, the developer behind the botched chimney implosion at the Little Village site on Easter weekend, will resume demolition work Monday that will continue through September, officials told residents at a virtual community meeting late last month.

The project, which was initially set to be completed by the end of the year, has been halted multiple times in the last seven months — first following the death of a worker at the site in December and then when a botched smokestack implosion covered Little Village in a cloud of dust on April 11.

Since a stop-work order was issued at the site in April, city officials have allowed the company to clean up debris at the site. And more recently, the city allowed Hilco to resume demolition work of the turbine building. 

The demolition of the coal hoppers is planned for July, while the seven-story structure will be demolished in August. All demolition work is expected to be complete in September, said Patrick Heneghan, president of Heneghan Wrecking, Hilco’s contractor.

In the wake of the botched implosion April 11, a chorus of neighbors and activists have called on the developer to abandon the site and for the city to rescind a $19.7 million tax break issued to the company.

Neighbors and activists have also fought against the 1-million-square-foot Target facility, which they say would inundate the neighborhood with more diesel pollution.

Little Village residents and activists blasted the developer for its “aggressive timeline” and the city for failing to listen to residents concerns.

During the recent meeting, neighbors asked the developer to pause work until after the pandemic, while others have called on the developer to leave the site all together.

The project, called Exchange 55, will clear the way for a 1-million-square-foot logistics facility for Target. 

Hilco began construction on the site on June  26, and expect to be completed in 2021.

Read all of Block Club’s Crawford coverage here.

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