The $50 million redevelopment plan will turn the factory into a music venue capable of hosting over 10,000 people.
The Chicago City Council last month approved plans which will see the old Morton Salt Factory turned into a huge riverfront music venue. The final vote confirmed that Chicago developers, Blue Star Properties and R2, who purchased the property from Morton Salt for $15 million in 2017, will be allowed to redevelop the property for nonindustrial use.
The factory, on Elston Avenue, will now become an events space, and entertainment group 16″ will use it as a regular Chicago concert space.
Craig Golden, president of Blue Star Properties and a partner at 16″ is leading the development and predicts the former factory “will be a premier music venue in Chicago because it has the inside and outside.” Golden envisages accommodating over 10,000 people in the venue with around 3,600 people fitting inside and 7,000 people outside.
The Elston Avenue property is known for the enormous “Umbrella Girl” sign that can be seen from the Kennedy Expressway. Sitting on 4.25 riverfront acres on the city’s North Side the prolific commercial developers will now begin work on the project that is expected to exceed $50 million.
Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. of 27th, where the iconic factory is located, spoke of the positive effect the redevelopment will have on the local community. He said that the project would provide jobs and appreciated that the proposal had opted to restore the longtime structure instead of pitching a completely new construction for residential high rise spurred on by financial objectives.
“We recognize how beneficial tourism is for the city of Chicago and our economy. I know something like this would bring a lot of folks to the community … help enhance the restaurants … help folks make money at hotels, help folks make money at rideshare programs. … This is a great opportunity.” said Burnett.
While the project aims to have its first tenants by early next year, and the plans for the venue to open next summer, Golden hopes “to be able to do some socially distanced events outdoors this summer if it’s possible.”
[Featured image from Blue Star Properties]