WEST HUMBOLDT PARK — Amazon is opening a distribution facility in West Humboldt Park, the latest big project to hit the long-neglected West Side neighborhood.
The online retail giant is taking over an abandoned warehouse at 1260 N. Kostner Ave., the former home of metal manufacturer Allied Metals, according to a company spokesperson and Ald. Emma Mitts’ office. When complete in late 2022, the 26-acre delivery hub will provide nearly 500 full-time and part-time jobs, Mitts said.
The project has the support of Mitts, who said it will give the broader West Side a much-needed economic jolt after a difficult year.
“In addition to bringing much-needed jobs and opportunity for under- and unemployed local residents, it will also inspire renewed hope to already disadvantaged neighborhoods further recently ravaged by the economic shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mitts said in a prepared statement.
The news comes as two other large developments take shape in West Humboldt Park: Development firm IBT Group is building a $50 million creative office campus at 1334 N. Kostner Ave., and the city is looking for developers to redevelop the former Pioneer Trust & Savings Bank site at 4000 W. North Ave. and 1616-38 N. Pulaski Road. Plans call for a cultural and community hub and an 100-percent affordable housing complex for local families.
“Amazon’s future presence is another major component in the renewal, revitalization and continued resilience in the 37th Ward,” Mitts said.
Amazon is expanding at a breakneck pace to keep up with the shopping surge brought on by the pandemic, Crain’s has reported.
The global company signed 21 new leases in the Chicago area last year, Crain’s said, citing the real estate services firm Colliers. It hired more than 15,000 people in Illinois last year — a 72 percent jump over the previous year — and opened six fulfillment center and delivery stations across the Chicago area, according to Crain’s.
Amazon’s plans to open a facility in West Humboldt Park is drawing mixed reactions from local residents.
William Smiljanić-Pérez, a member of the neighborhood group Nobel Neighbors, said he’s disappointed in Mitts and Amazon for not hosting a community meeting prior to the announcement. Mitts’ spokesperson has told other news outlets the alderman plans to host a community meeting soon.
“[There] are many in our service area who are excited about corporations paying attention to West Humboldt Park, but we can’t allow corporations and developers to shape our space, it has to be residents. Residents here are trying to seize control of spatial and economic production and we will continue doing so,” Smiljanić-Pérez said in a written statement.
Sam Day has lived four blocks from the warehouse for 30 years. Day said he’s in favor of any project that injects new life into the neighborhood, which, despite its relatively close proximity to gentrifying Humboldt Park, continues to see a lot of crime and suffering.
“What I’m against is the status quo,” Day said. “People here are dealing with serious problems — violence, prostitution and drug-dealing on a daily basis, and they want a change.”
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