Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Whole Foods Market recently broke ground on a 150,000 square-foot Whole Foods Market Midwest distribution facility in the Pullman neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Expected to open in early 2018, the new Whole Foods Market Midwest Distribution Center will initially employ 150 people and serve as many as 70 Whole Foods Market locations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa, and the Canadian province of Ontario.
“There is a renaissance happening in Pullman and this Whole Foods center will only make it stronger,” Mayor Emanuel said. “By investing in our neighborhoods and supporting projects like this distribution center, we are creating economic opportunities for families throughout Chicago. I want to thank Whole Foods for their continuing commitment to Chicago and our neighborhoods.”
Relocating from the current Whole Foods Market Distribution Center in Munster, Indiana, the new location offers a building double the size of the current facility. Investing in additional space to grow as the company expands its reach in Chicago and beyond, this new facility is expected to bring real, long-term economic benefits to Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood.
“We are thrilled to begin construction of our new distribution center,” Whole Foods Market Midwest Regional Vice President, Bobby Turner said. “We’ve grown so much since opening our first Midwest store in Chicago in 1993 and as our growth continues, this distribution center helps us continue our mission of providing access to fresh, healthy foods and supporting the communities where we do business.” The new distribution center will occupy 17 acres of empty land owned by U.S. Bank and allow Whole Foods Market to join two major suppliers, Method and Gotham Greens, in the Pullman neighborhood. It is among more than $225 million in public and private projects moving forward in Pullman, including: Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives’ (CNI) $130 million in investments since 2011 which transformed the former Ryerson factory site into the new Pullman Park retail center bringing much-needed amenities and services, created more than 750 permanent jobs, and the sale and renovation of dozens of historic properties and hundreds of homes; Pullman’s 2015 designation as a National Monument by the U.S. Park Service for its historic affiliation with industry, land use planning, and workers’ rights; the 2015 construction of Method Products’ first U.S. factory and Gotham Green’s rooftop greenhouse; and the current construction of a $15 million community center.
“Exciting things are happening thanks to a shared public and private commitment to building a strong and sustainable Pullman,” said David Doig, President of CNI. Pullman is at the epicenter of the city’s South Side where it’s convenient and easy for businesses of all types and sizes to connect to local, national and global markets.”
The Whole Foods Market Midwest Distribution Center also builds on the company’s plan to serve Chicago’s South Side including a recently-opened location in Hyde Park and a location in Englewood that will open in the fall. Additionally, the company hosted a Whole Foods Market Job and Employment Resource Fair for the new store in Englewood recently. South Side residents were able to apply and interview for available positions, as well as attend employment development workshops, sign up for childcare and meet with workforce support organizations. Other businesses with employment opwere also also accepting applications from interested residents.
“With major projects like this Whole Foods Distribution Center, the Pullman/Roseland area is reclaiming its history as a thriving hub for manufacturing and innovation,” Alderman Anthony Beale (9th) said. “As this facility grows it will add even more jobs and have an even stronger impact in the 9th ward.”
To ensure the site was competitive with the existing facility in Indiana, City Council approved up to $8.4 million in TIF assistance to help pay for site preparation costs, including grading, demolition, and utility installation. The distribution center will be built by Ryan Companies US, Inc., a national real estate construction company. It represents the third project collaboration between Ryan Companies and Whole Foods.
About Whole Foods Market®
Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market (wholefoodsmarket.com, NASDAQ: WFM), is the leading natural and organic food retailer. As America’s first national certified organic grocer, Whole Foods Market was named “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” by Health magazine. The company’s motto, “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet”™ captures its mission to ensure customer satisfaction and health, Team Member excellence and happiness, enhanced shareholder value, community support and environmental improvement. Thanks to the company’s more than 85,000 team members, Whole Foods Market has been ranked as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America by FORTUNE magazine for 19 consecutive years. In fiscal year 2015, the company had sales of more than $15 billion and currently has more than 439 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.