Manufacturing plant coming to Chicago’s South Side

July 16, 2013

(WBEZ/Shawn Allee)
From the 11th floor of Pullman's U.S. Bank building, one can see the construction site of a new Walmart store. The site is part of a comprehensive development plan. Method, a cleaning company, will be opening a facility.

A green cleaning company is opening its first U.S. manufacturing facility on Chicago’s South Side.

Method’s planet-friendly cleaning products are sold in tens of thousands of stores. And now, the company plans to bring about 100 green-collar jobs to the historic Pullman neighborhood by early 2015. The total project is $33 million, with the city and state contributing a third through tax incentives.

Ninth Ward Alderman Anthony Beale said more jobs will equal less crime in the community, which has suffered from decades of disinvestment.

“We’re going to work with Method to make sure the community is involved in the construction of the building, make sure the community has opportunity to get the jobs and they’re a partner in the community,” Beale said.

Pullman has 21 percent unemployment rate. About the same percentage live below the poverty level. The per capita income is $19,000.

Method’s new facility will be near the intersection of East 111th Street and South Doty Avenue in Pullman Park — part of a resurgence to the neighborhood. U.S. Bank has donated land for Pullman Park, a mixed-used project. Housing, big-box stores, a park and recreational facility are being planned. It’s supposed to bring 1,700 jobs. Wal-Mart is the first tenant.

San Francisco-based Method wanted to build the plant in an urban area, said company co-founder Adam Lowry.

“This is a facility that we hope will serve as a model of manufacturing and ultimately urban revitalization can look like in the 21st century,” Lowry said.

The American Planning Association has named Pullman one of the country’s top 10 great neighborhoods. Named after industrialist George Pullman, who envisioned a model community for his rail workers, the community once had plenty of jobs and a beautiful housing stock. Over time, Pullman fell into disarray as jobs disappeared.

“A lot of people over the years have written about the rich history of Pullman as a past. I think today we’re turning the chapter,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “A lot of people said it couldn’t happen on the South Side. It can’t happen in Pullman.”

Natalie Moore is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her @natalieymoore.