Pullman's $100M Makeover
A century ago, the Pullman neighborhood was a manufacturing hub, and it’s making its way back, boosted by a $100M investment from developer Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives over the last three years. The company just kicked off construction on phase three of mixed-use development Pullman Park (with partner US Bank), a $30M manufacturing and distribution facility for eco-friendly cleaning products-maker Method, president David Doig (snapped with Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) and CNI board chairman, Pastor Merlon Jackson) tells us, and it should be operational by year-end. A hub for the steel industry in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Pullman suffered from disinvestment and unemployment when steel left, and CNI’s biggest challenge is changing the perception of the neighborhood, David says.
Here’s the planned LEED Platinum site (turbine, check, green roof, check). You can’t beat the location and its unique confluence of water, railroads, and major interstates, David says. (It's like someone fell asleep on the keyboard during a game of Sim City.) The first phase of Pullman Park, a 150k SF Walmart, opened in September (below), and 70k SF of mid-box retail just north of Walmart has been opening over the past couple months (Ross Dress For Less, Planet Fitness). CNI has more in the neighborhood revitalization pipeline. It's working on getting Pullman’s historic district designated as a National Historic Park; artist housing in the area; additional industrial (they have 30 more acres zoned); and service-oriented neighborhood retail along 111th Street.
David’s seeing little competition from other developers in the Pullman/Roseland area, which he attributes to perception of the neighborhood's challenges, plus it’s more of a long-term play. “A typical developer wants to see the exit strategy and immediate upside,” he says. “By the time we’re done here, it will probably take 12 to 15 years.” But he’s already noticed some changes, including a boost in the local housing market over the past six months as people see “this is a cool place to live.” (And to manufacture. Local industrial is booming.) In his free time, David’s still defrosting and looks forward to golf weather.