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A look inside ‘The Hatchery’ food incubator headed to East Garfield Park

The 67,000-square-foot facility will provide flexible production space for food-based startups

Image courtesy of Wight & Company

An innovative project aimed at growing new food-oriented businesses and creating jobs in the East Garfield Park neighborhood officially broke ground yesterday on Chicago’s West Side. Dubbed ‘The Hatchery,’ the $34 million transit-friendly development will activate a blighted lot at Lake Street and Kedzie Avenue with a 67,000-square-foot facility.

The Hatchery will be located just steps from the CTA Green Line stop at Lake and Kedzie.
Image courtesy of Wright and Company

Designed by Chicago-based Wight & Company, The Hatchery will feature 56 private kitchens and larger shared kitchen as well as co-working and event spaces. Educational programs, small business loans, and a neighborhood market will also be offered on site.

“Adaptability in design is critical for The Hatchery to accommodate flexible programming and future growth,” said Matt Zolecki of Wight & Company via release. “We are creating a space not just for food production but for mentoring, coaching, presentation, and collaboration."

Co-developed by nonprofits the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago and Accion Chicago, the project will receive sponsorship from food companies Kellogg and Conagra as well as assistance from the City of Chicago. This summer, the Community Development Commission approved a $1 sale of 3.5 acres of City-owned land as well as $7 million in TIF money.

According to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the incubator will bring 150 new jobs to the East Garfield Park neighborhood in the first year and up to 900 jobs within five years. The Hatchery received its first foundation permit last month and is expected to open by the end of 2018.

Image courtesy of Wight & Company
Image courtesy of Wight & Company
Image courtesy of Wight & Company