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Developers want to turn the old Morton Salt warehouse into the “Salt District”

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

Another remnant of Chicago's industrial past is poised for redevelopment, transforming the property into another mixed-use space that could contain offices, shops and entertainment. Crain's reports that the 89-year-old Morton Salt warehouse—whose "Umbrella Girl" roof design has long been a prominent landmark for drivers on the Kennedy Expressway—has been purchased by Chicago developer R2, which wants to turn the complex into a new riverfront development called the "Salt District."

The 4.25-acre property was formerly used as a Morton Salt packaging and warehousing facility, but the company moved its operations out of the facility in 2015 (one year after a wall at the warehouse collapsed, spilling a mountain of salt into an adjacent parking lot). Morton will still have a presence in the new development—according to a release, the Morton Salt R&D Center will anchor an office on the riverfront site.

Details about the development are scarce, but the developers plan to reuse and renovate portions of the existing Morton Salt warehouse while retaining the iconic rooftop branding (the "Umbrella Girl" isn't going anywhere). The project will also bring new green spaces and a public riverwalk to the Goose Island property.

The Salt District will be the latest in a string of Chicago developments aimed at revitalizing former industrial strongholds, including the 22-acre Lincoln Yards development, which is being pitched as a potential home for Amazon's second North American headquarters campus.

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