Chicagoans love their industrial history. They also love to tear that history down and put up square, boring buildings that maximize shareholder value.
Our tip line went nuts on Thursday when heavy machinery from Heneghan Wrecking started tearing into the 1897 Archer Daniels Midland flour mill on Ogden Avenue in West Town. Thanks to West Town Spies Gale, Janice, James, Mike, Wilfredo, and over a dozen more anonymous spies for letting us know. Also, thanks to YoChicago! for rushing in these photos of the flour mill before and after the cavitation situation.
The demolition derby comes at the behest of Sterling Bay, which bought the property in 2019, two years after ADM announced it would halt flour processing there. That work was sent out to a place called Mendota, Illinois — a railroad town about halfway between Chicago and the American Pickers.
Sterling Bay is pretty much the patron saint of construction in this niche of Chicago, pioneering the Fulton Market District’s transformation from the meatpacking hub of Chicago into the Midwest version of Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. The developer is also putting up a Gensler-designed office building across the street at 1200 West Carroll.
Sterling Bay hasn’t announced what it will build at this site. But it has at least five months to come up with something, since word at the scene is that the demolition will take about that long to complete.