Ford expanding near its Chicago assembly plant

CHICAGO — Ford Motor Co. is increasing in Chicago after signing a lease for an enormous industrial constructing close to its southeast aspect meeting plant.

The automaker has leased a brand new 359,000-square-foot constructing inside a big industrial park underneath development on the location of the previous Republic Metal manufacturing facility, stated Tom George, vp of acquisitions at NorthPoint Improvement, which is creating the property.

Ford, which signed the lease in late 2019, plans to make use of the constructing for “pre-assembly work” of parts that will likely be delivered to the Ford manufacturing facility about 1.5 miles away, he stated.

George didn’t know the way many individuals would work within the Ford warehouse, the primary of as many as six giant industrial buildings NorthPoint plans within the park. A Ford spokeswoman declined to remark.

The lease is sweet information for NorthPoint and the Chicago economic system, which is reeling from the impression of the coronavirus. Authorities restrictions to sluggish the unfold of the virus have compelled many companies to close down quickly and left many individuals with out a job.

Ford idled its North American factories for 2 months in response to the pandemic, reopening them in mid-Could. However a pair days later, the corporate shut its Chicago plant briefly after two employees there examined optimistic for the virus.

Ford expects to increase its production to pre-pandemic ranges at its North American factories with weeks, however the automaker has forecast a $5 billion loss within the second quarter on account of COVID-19. Nonetheless, George has seen no indicators that the corporate is reconsidering its determination to maneuver into the brand new constructing.

“They’ve been anxious to get in there, so I assume that’s nonetheless the case,” George stated.

Earlier than the pandemic, Ford made a significant dedication to its Chicago operations, spending $1 billion to modernize the South Facet manufacturing facility, the place is makes Ford Explorers, and a Chicago Heights stamping plant. The corporate employed a mixed 6,500 folks within the vegetation as of final June.

Kansas Metropolis, Mo.-based NorthPoint additionally made an enormous dedication to the Southeast Facet, launching its $164 million plan to revamp the Republic Metal website final yr. Town of Chicago gave the venture an enormous push with a $52 million tax-increment financing subsidy. Its anticipated return on funding: 660 everlasting jobs and 650 non permanent development jobs.

With 2.three million sq. toes of buildings over 196 acres, the venture, known as the Avenue O Industrial Park, is the most important industrial improvement in Chicago for the reason that creation of the 1.6 million-square-foot Ford provider park subsequent door greater than 16 years in the past. NorthPoint additionally owns the provider park, whose tenants embrace Tower Automotive and Flex-N-Gate.

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