$30 million food, beverage incubator to be built in East Garfield Park

Chicago is already a magnet for food company headquarters with Conagra, Kraft Heinz, Archer Daniels Midland, Beam Suntory and Mead Johnson downtown and McDonalds coming to the West Loop.

On Tuesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a plan to share the wealth with Chicago neighborhoods and maybe cultivate even more food companies.

The Hatchery, a $30 million food and beverage incubator with shared kitchens, storage and office space for roughly 100 start-ups, will be built in time to open next year on a vacant lot near the Kedzie Green Line station in East Garfield Park.

The idea originated in the Near West Side community and “could not be stopped,” Emanuel said.

The 67,000-square-foot Hatchery is a partnership between Accion and the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago.

Accion will move its headquarters there and provide food and beverage entrepreneurs with access to sorely needed capital.

“That space between your family that won’t talk to you anymore, your spouse or partner [who] says, `Get that thing out of the kitchen’ and the bank that says, `We don’t do loans that size’ — that’s what Accion is for,” Emanuel said.

The city will provide some of the land for $1; its total contribution is $8 million, including tax-increment-financing.

This vacant lot next to the Kedzie Green Line station in East Garfield Park will be the site of the Hatchery, a food and business incubator scheduled to open next year. | Google Streetview

Conagra and Kellogg will serve as corporate partners.

Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) was so excited about the project and other development in his ward, he gave Chicago’s first Jewish mayor an awkward verbal embrace.

“This mayor is my partner. I call him my Hebrew homie. … He’s constantly helping me to build up our ward,” Burnett said.

Emanuel joked about how well Burnett is doing in his Hebrew classes. Turning serious, the mayor noted that it’s one thing to ask Whole Foods to put local products on their shelves. It’s…

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