BRIDGEPORT — Where's the beef?
It's still not in Bridgeport, but it should be soon.
Work crews and new signs have been spotted around the former Sara Lee property at 1000 W. Pershing Road, the planned site for the new home of Vienna Beef.
According to city documents, Vienna's manufacturing and distribution facility is expected to open in December.
The longtime Chicago company announced last year it was leaving its home in Bucktown because of the city's planned $36 million reconfiguration of the oft-clogged Damen, Fullerton and Elston Avenue intersection.
The route rejiggering would cut right through the company's front doors and could "impair Vienna's vehicular access, onsite functioning and any future expansion opportunities," according to a city department of housing and economic development report.
After reportedly getting courted to leave Illinois, Vienna was lured to the South Side with $5 million from the 35th-Halsted Tax Increment Financing District. That's 40 percent of the company's cost to acquire and renovate the building, documents show.
In exchange for the TIF money, Vienna agreed to employ 250 people at the site and remain there for 15 years. Ald. James Balcer (11th) helped engineer the deal, calling Vienna "a longtime Chicago institution that I am proud to support."
The Bucktown road work hasn't started yet, but it appears the company has started prepping for the rehab of the 103,000-square-foot building at the corner of Pershing Road and Morgan Streets, just north of the entrance gates to the Stockyards industrial park.
Vienna company executives did not return messages seeking comment.
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