'The Chicago Sun-Times David Roeder is reporting today that the long abandoned William Wrigley manufacturing complex at 35th and Ashland, after being on the market since 2009, is finally being sold at a bargain basement price.
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And again, "chewing candy" soon proved more popular than baking powder. In 1893, as people from all the world flocked to Chicago's World Columbian Exposition, Wrigley came out with both the Wrigley's Spearmint and Juicy Fruit brands. To get his display cases into retailers, he gave away knives, lamps, scales, coffee grinders and even cash registers. In 1909, Wrigley bought out the company that supplied him his gum, and began manufacturing it himself as the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company.
When a financial panic swept the country in 1907, and his competitors were slashing their marketing budgets, Wrigley took out a $250,000 loan to buy an advertising schedule that in more prosperous times would have cost $1.5 million. "Dull times are the very times when you need advertising most." By 1910, $170,000 in annual sales had skyrocketed to $3 million. By the time Wrigley died in 1932, he had spent $100 million in advertising his products.
Landmarks Commission report, over 200 companies had joined Wrigley in the CMD. Wrigley took up a large part of the 250,000 square-foot building on Ashland designed in 1911 by architect A.S. Alschuler.
During the first year in our new location, we have found it even better than originally represented. The service which has been rendered us by the Chicago Junction Railway Company in daily handling our ten to twelve incoming cars has been of the very best . . . We have affected a saving of $35,000 in the one item of cartage alone . . . The district is easily accessible from all parts of Chicago, as it indicated by the fact that of the 450 odd employees which we had at the we moved here from West Van Buren & Halsted Streets, fully 98% remained with us.
The lumps of gooey stuff drop onto conveyor belts that seem to endlessly move the gum through the stainless steel and white lab-like environment inside the six-story plant. The all-synthetic gum base is heated, matched with the appropriate flavor, spiked with a high-intensity sweetener, pushed onto a palleted merry-go-round and cooled to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
The result was Wrigley's Global Innovation Center, a 193,000 square-foot, $45,000,000 facility designed by Gyo Obata leading a team from HOK. The complex, which was certified LEEDgold in 2009, including a 40,000 square foot pilot plant for testing manufacturing processes, and a main building centered by a winter garden covered by a glass tension cabled ceiling with 540 individual panels, and 25 different species of plants from four continents, a representation of Wrigley's global reach. "This building," said Wrigley, "is a physical representation of our aspirations."
But not for long.
When the new Innovation Center and its $14 million in city subsidies were announced in 2002, then Mayor Richard M. Daley stressed that Wrigley had assured him the 35th street plant and its jobs would not be threatened by the new facility, and he was going to get it in writing. "We're still working on all of that," his then Planning and Development Commissioner Alica Berg told the Sun-Times, " but it's my understanding that it's their intention to expand their manufacturing into the space that their innovations center would be vacating."
The remaining 600 workers were shifted, offered early retirement , or laid off. In 2002, the same year the Goose Island facility was announced, Wrigley failed in a takeover of Hershey Foods, in what turned out to be its last chance to keep large enough to compete globally. In 2008, the Wrigley Company was acquired by international behemoth Mars. In January, 2010, William Wrigley, Jr., himself, was gone. For the first time in its century-long history, a Wrigley was no longer running the company In 2011, Mars dumped another 100 workers and announced its intentions to sell off the Michigan Avenue headquarters, shifting the last employees to the Goose Island facility, now the last remnant of a company that once helped define Chicago.
Bill Wrigley Jr. is a pig!!!! I hope he can sleep at night, him and his upper management made lots of money and sold their employees (who made them all that money) down the river. His father and grandfather must be rolling over in their graves. How proud you must be Bill Wrigley, I hope you get everything that's coming to you.pht
Bill Wrigley Jr. is your typical 1%er!He did not care about his employees only more profit.He moved the manufacturing facility out of Chicago to places like Yorkville Il.,Gainesville Ga.and Mexico because of employees wages and benefits are lower there.It's all about the money!Not the employees!Greed!
Bill Wrigley Jr. is a snake
It is really sad what Bill Jr. did to that company and it's employees. I hope that someday he will realize how many people he hurt with his greed....but I truly doubt it.
Honestly Bill JR. could care less how many people he hurts. What you need to understand is that it was all given to him, he never worked for anything. I guess you could say he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.The only person he cares about is himself.
What you have to understand is it was not only Bill Jr., who sold us out.What the Great Mars!! co. who told us nothing but lies then kicked us out in the streets when the economy was at its worst, one solution would be to spread the word and boycott all Wrigley and Mars products, it might not matter much but its a start. NO LOYALTIES ITS ALL ABOUT GREED!!! HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH.But like you said Bill JR. and all the Mars family had it all handed to them so why would they care about us.
Like they say, your more likely to fit a camel through the eye of a needle, then see a rich person in heaven!
Let them (Bill Jr. & Mars) enjoy their money. In the end they will have to answer for their GREED!
Bill Wrigley Jr should change his name he is not a Wrigley who took care of his people for all those yrs.he is a bum
Mars isn't any better than Wrigley once you reach the ripe old age of 50 they are looking to usher you out the door. Look at what they did to all of the past Wrigley employees that went to work at the distribution center in Romeoville.
Every comment posted is true. I am one, who too was a dedicated employee only to be treated like yesterdays garbage. We can only remember the wonderful times when Mr. Wrigley was alive. May he rest in peace. As for Bill Jr. his money won't last long, he doesn't have what it takes to be successful, I believe he's already proven that.
I will never buy a Wrigley or MARS product again. Everyone spread the word, Boycott all of these products... By the way, Wrigley I hope your fater and Grandfathers kick your @^%#$ in heaven even tho you don't belong there
Typical greedy bastard! Wrigley Jr. was incompetant. He sold us all out so that he could re-coup part of his bad investments in Devine Interventions. He bought the Goose Island property with corporate Wrigley funds so that he could put some of that money back into his own pocket. On top of it all he hired the most scumy indian snake charming management team to give everyone the impression that his new Innovation Center was top notch. I think he fooled Mars but his actions left a bloated Innovation organization full of yes men and marginal business sharks. A core group of 40 chemists and engineers that ushered in sugarfree gum, sugarfree pellets and supported both European and Asian factory expansions were marginallized by a large group of Indian kok skrs and lackeys that still squirm around sucking the life blood out of the few of us that remain at the Goose Island facility and actually contributed to the companies growth in the past! Jr. is a scum bag!
Watch out for the land immediately east of that factory. Billy Boy Jr. or maybe senior bought that in the early 2000's for possible reconstruction of the Chicago facory. Those plans were never implemented. Rumors were that it was a severely contaminated site requiring a lot of expense for clean up. Maybe that explains the closing of the facility. The existing factory buildings are very old and also loaded with asbestos particularly in the electrical distribution panels and sub stations. 5 million may sound like a bargain but I think Wrigley may have dropped a turd into your pockets.
I'll miss all the guys I worked with at this plant, eventhough it was a temp job. The factory was a beautiful place and enjoyed the hot breakfast and lunch. I drove by last year and saw it being demolished, very heart breaking. Can't believe Jr, sold the company to Mars and destroyed peoples lives and a historical landmark which made Chicago.
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