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CHICAGO-Solo Cup Co. has started construction on a major new industrial redevelopment on the South Side of Chicago, at the former U.S. Steel (USS) South Works steel mill site, paving the way for 1000 jobs and sorely needed economic development in the area.

The $100 million Solo Cup facility will be located on 118 acres of the 573-acre USS site at 3333 East 87th Street. The project will allow the producer of paper and plastic food service items to expand its operations, retain 550 employees and create 450 additional positions. In addition, USS has conveyed to the City and Chicago Park District 17 acres to form the first phase of a new 100-acre lakefront park to be developed at the site. USS has also contributed 27 lots for a new community park at 89th and Mackinaw, located in the adjacent south Chicago neighborhood.

The project has been cited as an unusual example of cooperation between a Democratic City administration – Mayor Daley of Chicago – and a Republican administration at the State level – Gov. George Ryan. The City will contribute $21 million towards the Solo Cup project, mostly from TIF assistance, while the State of Illinois will provide up to $15 million through the Illinois FIRST program for site access and preparation.

The Solo Cup project was the first economic development initiative to benefit from Illinois FIRST. The State will also provide job training funds to upgrade the skills of workers who will be using new manufacturing technologies and equipment at the facility.

“The redevelopment of this brownfield site into a viable null for the South Side of Chicago owes itself to the partnership of Gov. Ryan and Mayor Daley,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs Director Pam McDonough.

“This new facility gives us room to expand our business while retaining the Chicago-based workforce,” said Kathleen Wolf, SVP for Solo Cup.

Infrastructure investments for the new site include more than $18 million in new and improved streets, storm sewers, traffic signals, lighting and landscaping. More than $10 million in sewer work, including nearly 600 feet of 96-inch sewer line, has already been completed. Roadway work began this summer and will be complete in June 2003.

Solo Cup will open at South Works in 2004. The company will relocate existing operations from 95th Street and Dorchester in Chicago.

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