AOS Brings Jobs, New Industry to South Deering

November 18th, 2010 - The recent announcement that the sale of a significant portion of the former Wisconsin Steel Works site portends better times ahead for business and industry in Southeast Chicago. The exchange follows a comprehensive environmental clean up of the land situated around 106th Street and Torrence Avenue. According to a press release issued by Navistar, the former owner of the parcel, Asphalt Operating Services of Chicago (AOSC) and unnamed partners purchased some 131 acres of the former steel works. The site is ideally suited for industrial development because of its ready access to transportation, including river, railcar and nearby Interstate highway connections.

During open public meetings last January AOSC shared detailed plans for constructing and operating an environmentally sensitive asphalt processing facility. A similar facility in suburban Bartlett, Illinois received the International Liquid Terminal Association Platinum Safety Award in the small terminal category. The new plant design calls for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Designs) certification based on rating standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council for environmentally sustainable construction.

According to AOSC president Al Meitl, "during recent months AOSC has been meeting with city officials and local leaders to develop a site plan for a facility that will provide a new cluster of jobs in Southeast Chicago.

We are very excited to be part of the community and look forward to satisfying the community's desire for safe and clean operations on a nicely landscaped, well-managed property."

AOSC currently ships approximately 220,000 to 250,000 tons of asphalt a year, with most of the volume moving during the primary construction season running from March through December.

Asphalt shipments will arrive from BP's Whiting refinery via railcar or barge. Outbound shipments are typically tanker truck. Asphalt is a by-product of crude oil bottoms resulting from processing heavy crude oils. The property sale includes the northern portion of the former mill's 94-acre main property on 106th and Torrence, along with smaller offsite properties, including the 28-acre slag storage area at 100th Street and Muskegon Avenue.

Previously, two tracts totaling approximately six acres were sold to local companies.

SouthEast Chicago Observer, by Doug Knuth