Pritzker finds a buyer for Damen Silos, industrial site once featured in ‘Transformers’ movie

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker is on the verge of selling off an abandoned industrial site in Chicago best known as a shooting locale for the 2014 Hollywood blockbuster “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

MAT Limited Partnership put in a high bid of $6.52 million after the state announced in August it would auction off Damen Silos, a 23.4-acre riverfront property at 2900 S. Damen Ave. with several old, abandoned grain silos familiar to drivers on the Stevenson Expressway.

Owner Michael Tadin Jr. said the company and its affiliates will eventually demolish the silos and create a new corporate headquarters, as well as infrastructure to support its trucking fleet, now operating out of 10 acres at Stockyards Industrial Park in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.

The transformation is going to take time, he added, as the property needs a thorough environmental cleanup.

“The site was sold as is, so there’s probably at least a year’s worth of work before we can even start planning,” Tadin said.

Chicago-based MAT Limited Partnership helped develop Marina Crossings, a 633,000-square-foot warehouse finished in 2019 nearly 2 miles to the south at 2075 W. 43rd St. in the McKinley Park neighborhood. The Tadin family also owns a variety of construction and freight hauling firms, as well as MAT Asphalt, an asphalt mixing plant in McKinley Park.

“We handle basically every aspect of the transportation industry, so we will be keeping hundreds of construction and transportation jobs in the area,” Tadin said.

The move is part of Pritzker’s effort to sell off state-owned properties that are obsolete, underused or too expensive to maintain. His most high-profile success came in July when Google agreed to buy the James R. Thompson Center, which state officials estimated will save taxpayers nearly $1 billion over 30 years.

“With the sale of Damen Silos, we are doing what many administrations before us could not, saving taxpayer dollars in the process, and providing the opportunity for significant economic development projects on the South Side of Chicago,” Pritzker said in a news release.

The state has owned Damen Silos for nearly a century, often using the site to mix road construction materials. Soon after film director Michael Bay used the property to set off a series of fiery explosions, officials tried to auction it off.

But bidding was anemic as potential owners worried about the high costs of demolition and asbestos removal, among other environmental concerns, according to Mike Senner, an industrial expert and executive vice president at Colliers International. Officials canceled the sale.

This time, there was much more interest. The state’s Central Management Services received by October four complete proposals to buy Damen Silos, and MAT offered more than twice the minimum bid of $3.25 million, according to state officials, who said they will negotiate a final agreement with the company by the end of the year.

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November 3, 2022 at 09:57AM

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