Salt District to add jobs & strengthen economic development along North Branch

Last week, the Chicago Plan Commission approved plans to redevelop the Morton Salt facility, sending them to the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards for the next review.

A well-known landmark on the North Side, Morton Salt has long occupied a 4.25-acre property located on the west bank of the Chicago River running south from Blackhawk Street on Elston Avenue.

Led by developers R2 Companies and Blue Star Properties, the project will turn the site into a mixed-use office, retail, and entertainment complex, including a community-based venue and events space that can accommodate up to 3,000 people as well as future uses such as a farmers’ market.

The so-called Salt District will add approximately 285 permanent jobs and 41,500 square feet in new office space that will attract new businesses to our service area.  Just as important, the project will support the Goose Island manufacturing district east of the property.

It’s a great example of a dynamic, adaptive reuse project that supports neighborhood jobs and wealth creation by converting a vacant riverfront property into a jobs center.

Morton Salt is expected to keep its research and development team on-site, moving into a newly renovated office of 20,000 square feet.

In our discussions with the developers, we’re pleased they have expressed interest in working with surrounding businesses to ensure a seamless transition into the neighborhood.

And the project will make it easier to get around the area by adding separate riverfront trails for people walking and biking. These paths will eventually connect to a new pedestrian bridge over the river at Blackhawk Street that’s in the North Branch Framework Plan.

The trails will also create easy access for people on foot and bike to the Wild Mile Chicago, a 17-acre floating park coming to the North Branch Canal. The paths at this development will over time connect to riverfront trails at Lincoln Yards that will run between North and Webster Avenues.

Getting to the Salt District on bike will be relatively easy thanks to the bike lanes on Elston Avenue. And if you’re coming from the west, you’ll be able to get within a quarter mile of it by using the 606/Bloomingdale trail.

The project will also add a water taxi stop and a boat launch.

Would you like to learn more about the Salt District and the progress of development projects along the North Branch? Join us for The State of Development along the North Branch on Feb. 18 at 10 a.m. You can register at no cost here.

Image credit: R2 Companies