JULY 11-The Hatchery, a food incubator on Chicago’s Near Northwest Side, is expected to break ground this fall on a $30 million facility in East Garfield Park, possibly spurring an influx of jobs in an impoverished neighborhood if everything goes according to plan.
The project marks an intriguing addition to a changing food industry in Chicago, where large processed food companies are increasingly rubbing shoulders with start-ups in hopes of keeping pace with — or catching up to — shifting consumer tastes. The Hatchery will nurture small food businesses, while also bringing about 150 new jobs to East Garfield Park in the first year and up to 900 jobs over the first five years, city officials said.
The new 67,000-square-foot home for The Hatchery, a joint venture of Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago and Accion Chicago, is receiving a mix of public and private investment to get started: about $8 million in city support, mostly through tax increment financing, as well as undisclosed sums from giant food companies such as Chicago-based Conagra Brands and Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg Company.
“It’s an exciting project in an area that could use the investment. We plan to be there for a long, long time,” Steve DeBretto, executive director of Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago, said Monday.
Construction is planned to begin in October or November, with the facility opening in fall 2018, DeBretto said. The Hatchery hopes to support food start-ups as they grow with access to resources, expertise and exposure to established food companies. As members eventually outgrow the shared kitchen spaces, they can rent one of the 56 on-site private food production areas, DeBretto said.
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