N. Lawndale logistics center breaks ground

Developers anticipate 150 new jobs, completion set for 2019

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By Igor Studenkov

Contributing Reporter

Rockwell Logistics Center, a "last mile" facility on the northeast corner of North Lawndale, at 2545 W. 24th Street, officially broke ground on June 26. 

At the time when more people shop online than ever, facilities like this make it easier to deliver packages to customers inside major cities. The developers don't have the tenants lined up yet, but they believe that the location and local amenities will mean getting tenants won't be an issue. 

Ald. Michael Scott (24th), whose ward includes the location, has been supportive of bringing it to the community, advancing an ordinance that will reduce its property taxes, promoting job opportunities online and hosting a construction job hiring fair in Douglas Park. 

The developers behind the project stated that they are expecting to create 50 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs, and they are touting the area's "tremendous labor pool" as one of the advantages for potential tenants.

Rockwell Logistics Center is being built as a collaboration between Rosemont-based Venture One Real Estate, San Antonio, Texas based USAA Real Estate Company and Rosemont-based Lee & Associates of Illinois real estate services company. 

As a spring 2017 Development magazine article explains, the issue with distribution is that they tend to be located in the suburbs, which became an issue in many urban areas, where the millenniums that prefer to shop online are more likely to live. As a result, there has been more demand for distribution centers that are located within the city limits, near major railroads and highways. 

According to the brochure available on the project website, the center will span a total of 174,536 square feet and have a ceiling with 32-foot tall clearance. The interiors will be customized based on the tenants' needs. The brochure touts the site's proximity to BNSF railroad's intermodal yard, Eisenhower Expressway, multiple produce markets and Amazon and FedEx facilities, as well as the fact that it is only seven miles west of the Loop. 

The fact sheet posted in Scott's July 2018 ward newsletter says that, in terms of tenants, it is looking for "e-commerce users seeking to locate close to downtown, food-related users being displaced from Fulton market, restaurant supply companies, convention design and supply companies, grocery store distributors, and a variety of other miscellaneous businesses seeking a suburban quality facility within close proximity to downtown." 

The project's official website has contact information for any businesses that may be interested in the facility. 

The fact sheet goes on to state that the project will be good for Chicago because it will result in "an increased industrial tax base, job creation, sales tax revenue growth and future school tax revenue without impacting school qualities." 

The fact sheet mentions that the project would be 'inclusive to 24th Ward residents," but neither the fact sheet nor any other materials provided by the developers delve into what that means. The developers did team up with Scott to host a construction job fair on May 2.

The alderman helped the project along by supporting the application for Class 6(b) property tax classification, which temporarily lowers the property tax rate on the industrial properties in order to encourage development. The development brochure mentions the 6(b) status as one of the site's advantages.

In a statement released by Venture One in the wake of the ground-breaking, Ryan Stoller, one of the company's principals, expressed optimism about the project.

"We are excited to begin the development of this infill parcel," he stated. "This facility will offer unmatched functionality for its 'last-mile' location and should appeal to users seeking the amenities of a modern facility without sacrificing drive time and access to the city population."

The press release says that the developers expect to finish the project in the second quarter of 2019.

For more information about Rockwell Logistic Center, see https://rockwelllogisticscenter.com/.

CONTACT: igorst3@hotmail.com   

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