About five years after opening a soap factory in Chicago's Pullman Crossings Industrial Park, SC Johnson & Son Inc.'s Method Products is expanding, adding 200 jobs and opening a warehouse nearby.
SC Johnson, which bought Method in 2017, has leased a new 400,000-square-foot building, said David Doig, president of Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, a co-developer of the park.
The Chicago plant opened in 2015, with a $30 million investment by Method and another $8 million in tax-increment financing from Chicago. At the time SC Johnson bought Method, it had 500 employees.
Amcor Rigid Plastics produces Method's blow molded PET packaging on site. That in-house operation keeps more than 600 truckloads of finished bottles off the road before they are filled, eliminating more than 200 metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions, the companies said.
Amcor designed Method's current 53-ounce PET bottle that uses 100 percent post-consumer PET.
Currently, SC Johnson uses about half of the Method factory for distribution, Doig said. The company plans to use all of it for production and move the entire distribution function into the new warehouse, resulting in an increase of about 200 jobs, he said. An SC Johnson representative did not respond to requests for comment.
Method touts the sustainability of its Chicago factory on its website. In addition to using post-consumer resin, the facility has a 230-foot wind turbine that generates about half of the site's annual electrical needs.
Solar energy units in the parking lot add more renewable energy and urban agriculture company Gotham Greens operates a commercial-scale greenhouse on the roof, producing about 500 tons of pesticide-free produce.
The lease is just one part of a revival for the Pullman neighborhood, following Amazon's recent decision to open a 150,000-square-foot fulfillment center next door that will employ 400 people.
The deal with SC Johnson also underscores the strength of the Chicago industrial real estate market, which has held up well as other property sectors, especially retail and hotels, have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Distribution and logistics remain a growth industry, fueled largely by the expansion of e-commerce, driving demand for industrial space here. Amazon continues to binge on warehouse buildings, accounting for 43 percent of the 27 million square feet of industrial space under construction in the Chicago area, according to Colliers International.
"This is the future of our region," Doig said.