Businesses say they’re being forced out of West Loop building as migrants move in

By Chicago 4 Min Read

CHICAGO (WLS) — ABC7 cameras were there as migrant families, who recently arrived in Chicago, started moving into a building in the West Loop on Friday.

Moving trucks and even buses have been dropping off some families at the temporary shelter near North Ogden and West Carroll avenues. It is the third migrant shelter in the West Loop.

A city spokesperson told ABC7 that the plan is to move in some migrants on Friday and over the next few days.

There were up to eight different companies once operating in the building. Now, all of them say they’re being forced to move out.

One business, which wanted to remain anonymous, said this has been a frustrating process as they still operate inside and get ready to head elsewhere.

“It’s just kind of crazy how fast it all happened,” one employee said. “You can just get forced out of your workspace without having anything or anywhere to go.”

SEE ALSO | Chicago migrants stressing the city’s bottom line, contributing to 2024 budget deficit

The city held a community meeting on Monday about the plans for the shelter, with about 100 residents showing up to the Union Park Gym to voice their concerns, specifically with the lack of notice everyone received. The mayor’s chief of staff, Cristina Pacione-Zayas, said they didn’t have much of a choice with that.

“We are attempting to get this right, but there is no playbook, no instruction manual. We have, essentially, inherited all of this, and as we go through the process, we are learning,” Pacione-Zayas said.

The employees who have been coming into work at the building said they’ve had to conduct business while the loud noises of construction course through. There are plans to move their business to another part of the city, but they said that’s quite the hassle.

“None of the employees are happy with it,” an employee said. “It depends where you live, but I’d guess it adds, for the majority of people, an hour on your commute in the morning and afternoon. So, it’s really just untimely, unfortunate.”

The two other shelters in the West Loop are already operating and housing about 100 people each.

One of them is near the 300 block of South Halsted Street, and the other is about 1.5 miles away on West Walnut Street.

Residents around the area have continued to push back on the city’s handling of these migrants.

“I’d like to see a more organized effort, not put everywhere around the city,” said Brian Flanagan, who works near the shelter. “They’re talking about putting tents up and things like that. I think there’s much better solutions.”

So, over the next few days, residents will continue to see migrant families and children move in there.

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