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Old Gutmann Tannery Site To Become HQ for Logistics Company

By Mina Bloom | October 8, 2015 2:50pm | Updated on October 8, 2015 6:13pm
 An aerial view of Gutmann leather tannery and the other industrial sites along the Chicago river.
An aerial view of Gutmann leather tannery and the other industrial sites along the Chicago river.
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C.H. Robinson

LINCOLN PARK — Developer Sterling Bay is building an office building at the site of the old Gutmann leather tannery, which will become headquarters for the largest logistics company in Chicago.

C.H. Robinson announced this week that it will be leasing a 207,000-square-foot, three-story, building, which will be managed and developed by Sterling Bay, at 1511 W. Webster Ave. 

The logistics firm is aiming to relocate 1,000 employees from its location at 1840 N. Marcey St. to the site of the old factory by late 2018, according to a news release. Built in 1878, the factory shuttered more than a century later, in 2006. 

Chicago leather workers in 1900, taken by Ed Stratton. [Chicago History Museum]

“We chose this building because its location is convenient for our employees, many of whom take public transportation to work. It’s on a great piece of riverfront property and the built-to-suit aspect will enable us to design a custom space that our current and future employees will love,” said Mike Ryan, vice president at C.H. Robinson, in a written statement.

The four-acre site is part of Lincoln Park's riverfront industrial corridor that includes the razed Finkl Steel mill. Community leaders and developers say whatever happens at the former Finkl site and the neighboring industrial sites — which offer roughly 28 acres of redevelopment opportunity — will shape the future of the neighborhood.

Sterling Bay is leasing the space just weeks after buying the old tannery and the Lakin General site, which is another set of properties next to Finkl, according to a Crain's report. Crain's reports that Sterling Bay is eyeing the Finkl site as well, but no deals have been made yet.

Sterling Bay has a reputation for fixing up vintage buildings on the Near West Side and the West Loop and bringing in tech companies like Google, Twitter, GoGo and Hillshire Brands.

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