A food incubator planned for Chicago’s East Garfield Park could provide much-needed economic growth for a struggling community. Nearly 40 percent of households there live below the poverty level, according to the Chicago Tribune. But the $30 million facility, being built by The Hatchery, could create 150 jobs in its first year, and in five years offer 900 jobs. The organization expects to break ground on the facility later this year.
The Hatchery is a non-profit food business incubator started by three Chicago organizations: Accion Chicago, IFF, and Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago. They offer financing, production space, and other resources for startup food businesses, and the new $30 million facility could help them assist even more people in the community.
75 to 100 entrepreneurs will be able to start their businesses in The Hatchery’s planned space, which will be around 65,000 square feet. The City of Chicago is providing around $8 million for the venture, largely through tax increment financing, and large food companies like Kellogg Company and Conagra Foods have also pitched in undisclosed amounts.
Shared kitchen spaces will help businesses get on their feet, and as they grow they’ll be able to rent one of the 56 private production spaces. Event spaces, meeting rooms, and food storage will also be found inside The Hatchery, where entrepreneurs will be able to receive coaching and training.
Accion Chicago will relocate their headquarters to the new facility. Locals will be able to obtain job training or go to food classes there. The space will also host a neighborhood market.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel praised the project in a press release, saying, “Chicago is the global culinary capital and The Hatchery will give our local entrepreneurs access to food and beverage companies that operate across the world.”
Construction is slated to begin in October or November of this year, and the space could open in 2018.
Via the Chicago Tribune