What’s Left of Crawford Power Plant to be Demolished July 6, Company Says

The partly demolished site of the former Crawford Power Generating Station, which was active from 1925 to 2012. (WTTW News)The partly demolished site of the former Crawford Power Generating Station, which was active from 1925 to 2012. (WTTW News)

What’s left of the Crawford Power Plant will be demolished starting July 6, company officials announced Friday.

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City officials confirmed Friday afternoon that Hilco Global is now allowed to move forward with construction.

Ald. Mike Rodriguez (22nd Ward) said city officials told him that “all legal options to stop this project from moving forward have been exhausted.”

Rodriguez vowed to monitor the work to ensure nearby residents aren’t effected.

The firm is working to demolish the former coal power plant to build a warehouse it is referring to as Exchange 55, in a nod to its proximity to the Stevenson (I-55) Expressway.

Hilco and the company that will conduct the demolition, Heneghan Wrecking & Excavation Co., Inc., will host a virtual bilingual community meeting at 10 a.m. June 27 to detail the demolition and dust mitigation plan for the remaining structures at 3501 S. Pulaski Road.

Heneghan began demolishing the former turbine building at the power plant June 5 and finished this week. That work was “successful and safe,” according to Mimi Simon, a spokesperson for the city's Department of Buildings.

City officials said Thursday an additional portion of the seven-story power plant would be demolished immediately because it was in danger of collapsing.

The demolition of the rest of the plant “will be conducted using a manual process that does not utilize an implosion,” company officials said in a statement, and will follow the city’s dust mitigation plan for the project.

Even before the rest of the former coal power plant is demolished, Hilco will start building the 1-million square foot warehouse, which will be used by Target to ship packages throughout the Midwest.

The first work will include the erection of “precast concrete wall panels and a structural steel frame” and roof, company officials said. 

The work to demolish the former coal power plant has been in the spotlight since the April 11 demolition of the smokestack at the former plant sent a plume of dust over six blocks of homes, infuriating Little Village residents and prompting Mayor Lori Lightfoot to propose a six-month moratorium on implosions.

Lightfoot on Wednesday asked the City Council to approve that moratorium while new rules are developed.

In addition, Lightfoot urged aldermen to require firms that want to conduct an implosion to apply for a license from the department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, notify residents and property owners within 1,000 feet of the implosion, and hold a community meeting to allow nearby residents to ask questions about the plan at least 30 days before the planned implosion.

The city issued 16 citations to Hilco in April, which come with $68,000 in fines, the mayor’s office announced. Critics of the firm said those fines are a drop in the bucket as compared with the tax breaks granted by the city.

In 2019, The City Council agreed to grant Hilco a $19.7 million property tax break over the next 12 years after it announced plans to tear down the red-brick power plant, built in 1924 and shuttered in 2012, and replace it with a warehouse.

The City Council Wednesday approved a non-binding resolution that could be the first step toward revoking those tax incentives.

The Illinois Attorney General has sued Hilco over the demolition, saying it violated state environmental laws and put the community at risk.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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