Courtesy of Wight & Company

The Hatchery will offer 67,000 square feet of cooking and production space.

July 13, 2017

Chicago-area culinary start-ups will soon have a super-sized spot in the Windy City of their own. Crews will break ground on The Hatchery—a food incubator set to be built to the tune of $30 million—sometime this fall in the city's East Garfield Park.

The 67,000-square-foot facility will provide "resources, expertise, and exposure to established food companies," according to The Chicago Tribune, where members can use the facility's shared kitchen space or rent one of its 56 onsite production areas.

While the food incubator is meant to support smaller businesses, several big brands that call Chicago their home—including Conagra Brands and Kellogg Company—invested in the facility, giving undisclosed amounts to the project alongside $8 million in city funding.

"It's an exciting project in an area that could use the investment," Steve DeBretto, executive director of Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago, told the newspaper.

That area, East Garfield Park, is a haven for crime and other economic issues in the city. But with the food incubator, officials hope the neighborhood can see positive change.

The new facility is expected to bring 150 new jobs to the area next year alone, and 900 jobs within five years. In addition, The Hatchery will host a neighborhood food market, and will give local residents the chance to take job training and food classes at the facility, the newspaper reports.

"Generally for Chicago, it's going to be such a great opportunity to showcase all the innovators and entrepreneurs," said Natalie Shmulik, the food business consultant who manages the program. "I think it will have an immediate impact."

It's noteworthy that The Hatchery itself isn't new. Currently, the food incubator is located in Chicago's West Town neighborhood, and has 55 members. But The Hatchery program expects to be able to double its membership in its first year after its East Garfield Park location is complete.

The Hatchery's new location is expected to open in the fall of 2018.