Whole Foods Distribution Center For-Profit Project (2019)


700 block of E. 111th Street

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Increasingly cited as a prime example of a ‘comeback community,’ over the past decade Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood has garnered a wave of new interest and development. The result of decades-long work by residents, the leadership of a determined alderman, and the vision and commitment of a local bank-sponsored intermediary, Chicago Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI), Pullman has gained renewed housing, National Monument status, as well as a new retail and manufacturing center that has risen on the site of a long-abandoned former Ryerson Steel facility – providing needed jobs and services. While some might have seen the hundreds of new jobs on the site as a ceiling, Alderman Tony Beale and David Doig of CNI, the developer, saw the aggregation of companies as a foundation for a new manufacturing/distribution hub. Hearing that Whole Foods Market was looking to relocate their Indiana-based Midwest Distribution Center they teamed with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to convince Whole Foods to move to Illinois – specifically, to the Pullman Industrial Park. The combination of the site’s unparalleled advantages – ready-to-build land, unmatchable access to interstate roads, rail, water and airways, a welcoming community, a well-trained and ready workforce, and Mayor Emanuel’s persuasiveness proved irresistible. In July 2018, Whole Foods leadership joined the Pullman community to celebrate the opening of the 150,000 square-foot Whole Foods Distribution Center (twice the size of the former Indiana facility) – now serving 70 Whole Foods Market locations across the Midwest, including in Chicago and Eastern Canada – and the more than 100 jobs it brings to Pullman. The new Whole Foods Distribution Center – which joins Method and Gotham Greens in the Pullman Industrial Park, a Walmart anchored shopping center and the new 111h Street Plaza – is among the $339 million in public and private investment projects moving Pullman forward, including CNI’s $132 million in investments, which transformed the former Ryerson factory site into the Pullman Park retail center. “We are excited to be here,” said Whole Foods Facility Team Leader Russell Cartwright. “As the facility grows, it will continue to benefit the community by creating new job opportunities and strengthening the local economy.”