First Factory to be Built in Pullman in More than 30 Years Will Create 100 New Jobs for Local Residents
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Anthony Beale today joined Method Products, PBC executives to open the company’s flagship manufacturing facility in the Pullman neighborhood on Chicago’s south side. The 150,000 square foot ‘South Side Soapbox’ is the first new factory to be built in Pullman in more than 30 years and is the first LEED-platinum certified factory in its industry. The facility will provide nearly 100 green manufacturing jobs for local residents by the end of 2015, and will provide public access to green space on its 22-acre site.
“Pullman is a wonderful example of how Chicago’s communities embrace the past and plan for the future. Method’s new manufacturing facility celebrates the innovation responsible for driving our city’s 21st century economy while at the same time, respecting the rich culture and history of the community and bringing critical new jobs to the community,” said Mayor Emanuel. “And now that Pullman is home to America’s newest national monument, we expect more businesses to locate here and bring further economic investment to this great neighborhood.”
“This is a huge day for us and for sustainable manufacturing. The South Side Soapbox – a transformative facility in a neighborhood with exceptional history – is bringing a new standard of manufacturing to the world,” said Drew Fraser, global CEO of Method. “Business can and should be a powerful force for good and our factory represents the intersection of sustainability, innovation, flexibility and partnership.”
The City provided $8.1 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) assistance for site acquisition and preparation of the new Method facility.
Designed by Chicago-based William McDonough + Partners, the $30 million “Soapbox” is the first LEED-platinum certified factory in its industry. The 150,000 square foot facility includes product manufacturing, bottle production, warehousing and distribution. Half of the facility’s annual electrical needs are produced by an on-site refurbished wind turbine and solar energy trees. Renewable energy credit purchase provides the balance for the facility to operate on 100 percent renewable energy in its first two years. Additional energy conservation features include a 1,520 square foot succulent green roof covering the entry walkway; light-reflecting concrete and rooftop; warehouse and distribution center skylights; and a 120 gallon solar powered water heating system.
“With Pullman’s rich labor history, it’s fitting that the neighborhood is now home to a new, world-class manufacturing plant. The state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly facility will provide nearly 100 good-paying jobs to locals,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said. “The fact that a fast-growing company like Method chose to build its first U.S. facility in Chicago is a testament to Mayor Emanuel and our highly-skilled manufacturing workforce. It’s a win for Chicago’s South Side, Illinois manufacturing, and sustainable business.”
“The past and future of manufacturing will converge in Pullman with the opening of Method’s state-of-the-art, eco-friendly facility. Now, visitors to the Pullman National Monument can learn about the birth of America’s first industrial town and, in the same neighborhood, find an exciting model for the future of manufacturing. We welcome this newest, forward-thinking manufacturer to the community. It will not only serve as a fitting complement to the neighborhood, it will provide hundreds of jobs,” saidCongresswoman Robin Kelly.
As part of Method’s commitment to sustainability, the Soapbox will use recycled and local materials whenever possible with at least 20 percent of materials inside the factory originating from within 500 miles of where the Soapbox stands. With a zero-landfill goal, almost everything entering the factory will be used in products, recycled or composted. Method also plans to leverage the manufacturing plant as a learning opportunity for the community and will to conduct public tours to educate on renewable energy, hydroponic farming and green manufacturing.
“We gave Method the full-court press from our community, and they chose Pullman not just because of its infrastructural advantages like being so close to rail, road, and water transit, but also because our story about a community working to revitalize itself resonated with their corporate values,” said Alderman Anthony Beale of the 9th Ward, where the factory is located.
Pullman is one of seven opportunity areas designated as part of Chicago Neighborhoods Now, which works to drive investment in neighborhoods throughout the city. Since March 2013, the Pullman area has seen over $227 million in planned, public and private investment in projects completed and underway including Pullman Wheelworks, a 210-unit, affordable housing development in a formerly vacant manufacturing facility, a building addition on the Gwendolyn Brooks Selective Enrollment Academy, the construction of the Chicago Family Health Center, the opening of a Walmart SuperCenter, the opening of the second phase of the Pullman Park retail development, and the $12 million, 113,000 square foot Pullman Park Community Center, which is being partly funded by $3 million in New Markets Tax Credits. New projects in Pullman are anticipated to create more than 1,525 temporary and permanent jobs for the community.
In addition, in February 2015, President Obama traveled to Chicago to designate the Pullman Historic District a national park, Chicago’s first. The Park Service, which plans to open an office in downtown Chicago, estimates that tourism in Pullman will increase from the current 30,000 visitors a year to more than 300,000 annually with the designation.