Peoples Gas acquires 9.43-acre site at Peterson-Pulaski in Sauganash
by BRIAN NADIG
Peoples Gas plans to construct a new facility for 400 employees on the former site of a legal and accounting publishing house at 4025 W. Peterson Ave., replacing the utility company’s location in the Six Corners commercial area.
"This is very good news," said Peterson Pulaski Business and Industrial Council executive director Janita Tucker. "To have 400 employees out of that one location is more than we could ask for."
Peoples Gas operations and maintenance vice president Lori Flores Rolfson said that the facility will be "a vibrant addition" to the area. "Along with serving the needs of our customers from this location, employees will contribute to the local economy as consumers at neighborhood businesses," she wrote in an Aug. 2 letter to Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th).
The 9.43-acre parcel at the southwest corner of Peterson Avenue and Pulaski Road was home to Commerce Clearing House, which is now headquartered in Riverwoods.
The company was founded in 1913 and was purchased in 1995 by Wolters Kluwer and operated on Peterson until last year.
In 2010 the city authorized up to $5 million in tax increment financing district subsidies to help pay for the modernization of the site’s 212,800-square-foot building, which was constructed about 60 years ago.
However, the city paid the company only $849,000 in TIF subsidies, and the company later paid that money back because it did not live up to the redevelopment agreement, which was intended to keep the company in Chicago, according to Laurino’s spokesman Manuel Galvan. TIF subsidies are not planned for the Peoples Gas project, he said.
Peoples Gas is planning to start construction early in 2018, with completion slated for the following year.
"Since closing on the purchase of the property last month, we have implemented a comprehensive design process for the parcel. Our design team is thoroughly evaluating numerous options and recommendations in advance of developing the initial designs," Flores Rolfson said.
It is expected that the facility will house office staff and administrators and serve as a dispatching center for service workers, according to Tucker.
News of the Sauganash facility could mean the end of the utility’s approximately100-year-old history of having a presence in the Six Corners area. A Peoples Gas spokeswoman said that the company will be evaluating its North Shop facility at 3955 N. Kilpatrick Ave. and then will consider its options, including the possible sale of the property.
"The Six Corners Master Plan envisioned that some day that Peoples Gas would leave," said Alderman John Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh. One of the challenges facing the company was finding a large enough site that would meet its transportation needs, including convenient access to the highway and major thoroughfares.
Brugh said that he expects there would be a lot of interest in the site from developers.
The Kilpatrick-Irving park facility is located across from a development site at 4747 W. Irving Park Road, where plans to build a retail center have stalled.