Amped Kitchens (ampedkitchens.com) held a ribbon-cutting at its new 117,000-square-foot, multi-tenant, commercial kitchen complex in Chicago's Belmont-Cragin neighborhood. Amped is the first-of-its-kind high-end, production-oriented, multi-unit kitchen facility in Chicago. Along with partner Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network, Amped Kitchens will celebrate its diverse base of food makers and introduce the space to the Chicago food-making community.
Amped Kitchens began the $25 million renovation of the long-vacant Zenith factory at 5801 West Dickens Avenue in late 2019. This facility offers 64 private kitchens (from 150 square-feet to almost 2,000 square-feet). Each lease includes key amenities needed by growing food businesses: refrigerated, frozen, and dry storage -- as well as office space, meeting rooms, attended shipping docks, packing rooms, and an on-site USDA office. In addition, Amped Kitchen tenants have access to expedited government approvals and easier certification pathways, including organic and kosher. Amped's “plug-and-play” kitchen model offers tenants huge time and capital savings versus building their own space.
Amped Kitchens currently leases to established and fast growing food businesses including CPG companies, restaurants needing commissary/central kitchen space, meal subscription companies, and anyone looking for R&D or pilot production space.
“We were seeing too many food businesses hit a wall when it was time to grow. We provide them with a fast, accessible path to scale,” says Mott Smith, co-owner of Amped Kitchens. Co-owner Brian Albert adds, “Growing food companies tell us the costs, complexity, and time needed to secure their own permitted space are an enormous burden. They need to be producing in a matter of weeks, not months – or years and Amped can make that happen.”
Financing for the new facility came from PNC Bank, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Chicago Community Loan Fund, Southside Community Optimal Redevelopment Enterprise (SCORE), BlueHub Capital, FirstPathway and Loop Counterpointe.
“We are excited to be part of this Amped Kitchens facility, as it works to support Chicago food-industry professionals by removing startup costs and obstacles, and providing resources to help them succeed,” says Scott Swanson, PNC regional president of Illinois.
PNC Tax Credit Solutions Group, a PNC Real Estate business, provided $8.5 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) equity towards the Amped Kitchens facility. “This facility is a testament to the impact that the NMTC program can have on our communities, and we are incredibly proud to be active participants in the program, supporting projects just like this one across the U.S.,” adds David Gibson, senior vice president and manager of Specialty Tax Credit Investments for PNC Tax Credit Solutions Group.
LISC Chicago Executive Director Meghan Harte adds, “Small businesses bore the brunt of the pandemic's impact and they are now leading the way in the recovery. LISC is so proud to partner with Amped Kitchens to deliver this center for new jobs, products and entrepreneurship for Chicago's incredible food community and the Northwest Side.”
“Amped Kitchens has a strong track record of success in Los Angeles and is bringing that expertise to advance Chicago food and beverage entrepreneurs,” said Bob Tucker, COO and Executive Vice President of Programs for CCLF. “This will not only help build wealth for local residents but create jobs in the neighborhood.”
This Chicago location is Amped Kitchens' third U.S. facility and its first outside of Los Angeles. Current and former Amped Kitchens tenants include Beyond Meat, CookUnity, Halo Top Creamery, Applebee's, Two Fish Crab Shack (Chicago), Soul Vegan (Chicago), and more.
Source: Amped Kitchens