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Read the press release here.

Morton Salt Closing Huge Storage Facility on Elston Avenue

By Mina Bloom | September 15, 2015 1:33pm | Updated on September 16, 2015 8:50am
 Last December, crews set up concrete barriers to begin the clean up process, Acura general manager said.
Last December, crews set up concrete barriers to begin the clean up process, Acura general manager said.
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DNAinfo/Mauricio Pena

WEST TOWN — Morton Salt announced Tuesday that it is closing its longtime facility on Elston Avenue, which made headlines last year after a side wall blew out and salt buried about a dozen cars.

The Chicago-based company announced it will cease packaging and warehousing operations at its Elston Avenue facility by the end of October after conducting a study showing that it would be more efficient to serve customers from other facilities.

Since the late 1920s, the Morton Salt facility had packaged and stored ice melting salts and other bulk salts that were then sold to commercial businesses, according to the release.

"The Morton Salt facility on Elston Avenue has an iconic presence in Chicago," said Christian Herrmann, chief executive officer of Morton Salt, Inc. in a written statement.

"That's why we will explore all possibilities related to the future of the property and the infrastructure upon it. Our company was founded in Chicago and we are committed to the long, rich history we have here."

Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), whose ward includes the facility, said Morton Salt wasn't using the huge site "efficiently" and suspects the company would've sold the property years ago if not for the beloved hand-drawn logo of "Morton Salt Girl" visible from the Kennedy Expressway. 

"It's further evidence of the difficulty of maintaining industrial warehouses," he said, adding that it was not the "best use" for the land.

Though he declined to provide specifics, Hopkins said zoning changes and additional uses for the site will be discussed in the near future. 

He added that the site will be apart of his master plan for the ward, including the future of shuttered A. Finkl & Sons plant and the surrounding industrial corridor along the river.

"It needs to be a part of the conversation," he said of incorporating the Morton Salt site into larger plans of getting rid of the area's planned manufacturing district designation, which was originally created to protect high-paying industrial jobs and protect the area from pressure by developers.

Paul Biasco was on scene just after the wall collapsed:

The company said it will "maintain a business presence on-site," but could not immediately provide further details.

The facility employed 23 people, who will be given severance packages and other benefits. They will also be considered for other positions in the company where possible, a news release said.

Morton Salt is also planning to move its current headquarters office at 123 N. Wacker Dr. to the West Loop at River Point development, 444 W. Lake St., in December 2016 to bring together its office employees and its customer service center, which is currently located in Oak Brook, Ill, the release said.

Last December, the salt kept inside the Morton Salt facility was piled too high, city officials said, causing a side wall to blow out and an avalanche of salt to pour out.

The salt buried at least 11 cars owned by the car dealership next door. No one was hurt.

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