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In 1994, Chicago's Department of Planning and Development completed its analysis of the city's industrial areas and identified 22 pockets of intense activity. These Industrial Corridors, as they have become known, are characterized by the concentration of industrial firms, contiguity of uses and opportunities for new development. The Chicago Plan Commission, which has adopted industrial land-use plans for the North, West and South Sides, recognizes the importance of stable land-use environments for industrial expansion and development. With the Industrial Corridor designation, the Commission has created a geographic framework for focusing industrial infrastructure investment in places where that investment has a long-term, area wide impact.

First Round, 1994 Second Round, 1995
Pilsen Western/Ogden
Northwest Pulaski
Southwest Kinzie
Roosevelt/Cicero North River
Ravenswood Addison
Calumet Burnside

The Model Industrial Corridor Initiative will provide resources for local strategic development planning, direct resources, and further seed the implementation of appropriate plan recommendations that meet the needs of existing companies and anticipate future development opportunities. There are currently 12 corridors enrolled in the program, six of which started the planning process in 1994.

The Model Corridor planning groups are addressing five functional areas deemed critical to their continued success. Below is a list of projects currently underway:


  • Cementing the relationship of the local organization and its responsibility for corridor management
  • Focusing company involvement in corridor issues
  • Demonstrating local ability to solve problems
  • Creating linkages between area residents and job opportunities
  • Developing industry specific training programs (e. g. woodworkers on the west side or shipping and receiving on the north side)
  • Identifying and redeveloping brownfield sites

Security and Safety

  • Installing well-lit bus shelters to provide safe access to public transportation
  • Invoking street vacation to develop secure employee parking and create perception of a controlled campus environment
  • Demolishing abandoned buildings and fencing in vacant lots to eliminate the physical sources of crime
  • Developing industrial neighborhood watch programs to build stronger relationships with the adjacent community

Accessibility and Functionality

  • Maintaining a minimum height clearance under viaducts to provide easier access to the expressway system, rail connections, and downtown as well as smooth internal circulation
  • Studying intra-corridor shuttles to provide employees access to public transportation
  • Reconfiguring traffic lanes to increase the availability of parking
  • Designating truck routes and funding loading dock improvements to enhance the separation of industrial traffic from other users

Competitiveness and Marketability

  • Monitoring the availability of industrial space (both buildings and land) at competitive prices
  • Creating networking opportunities that build a sense of corridor identity
  • Establishing a physical delineation through signage and gateways to create strong corridor boundaries
  • Developing marketing materials
  • Providing linkage with local employment and training agencies

Attractiveness and Availability of Amenities

  • Maintaining the public ways, streetscapes and vacant lots
  • Highlighting public availability of green space and the treatment of natural features (e.g. the river)
  • Advocating for new development and uses that are compatible with the character of the corridor
  • Identifying appropriate types of commercial development including business support services in or near the corridor

CANDO continues to play an integral role in facilitating the Model Corridor process, providing support and resources to its member organizations. We welcome and challenge other interested parties, including the State, to become partners in this grassroots planning process.

To find out how you and your organization can become involved, please call:
Rob May, Director of Industrial Development at 312-372-2636 x232

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