Mars Wrigley expanding Goose Island research center

The company also said it is working with the Local Initiatives Support Corp. to evaluate future uses for its manufacturing site in Galewood.

SHARE Mars Wrigley expanding Goose Island research center
A rendering of the Mars Wrigley research center on Goose Island, with the planned addition on the right.

A rendering of the Mars Wrigley research center on Goose Island, with the planned addition on the right.


Candymaker Mars said Thursday it will start construction this summer on a $40 million expansion of its research center on Chicago’s Goose Island, making it the largest innovation hub in the world for the Mars Wrigley line of candy and gum.

The expansion at 1132 W. Blackhawk St. is expected to be finished in mid-2023 and create 30 permanent jobs. The company said that would bring its total workforce on Goose Island to 1,000 people.

Mars talked about details of the project on the same day the Chicago Plan Commission approved zoning for the expansion. The commission reviews major projects that require new zoning and its recommendations are sent to the City Council for approval.

“Creating new jobs and a world-class, multimillion-dollar research and development hub demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the Chicagoland area and accelerates our future for innovation,” said Chris Rowe, global vice president at Mars Wrigley. “This facility brings exciting new capabilities and enhances the vibrant innovation culture Mars has on Goose Island.”

In emphasizing its commitment to Chicago, Mars was acknowledging the critical backlash in January when it announced the closure over the next two years of its factory at 2019 N. Oak Park Ave. in Galewood, eventually at a cost of 280 jobs there. The plant turns out such chocolate bars as Snickers and 3 Musketeers,

Mars is donating that site to the community. It said Thursday that it is partnering with the nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corp. to identify potential uses for the property. It expects to hand over the property in 2024.

Mars’ Chicago-area manufacturing includes sites in Burr Ridge and Yorkville. The company said its workers on Goose Island are employed by the Mars Wrigley, Mars Food and Mars Global Services divisions.

City planning staff said the redesigned research hub at the north end of Goose Island will include more landscaping and walkways for safe pedestrian access. They said the company will remove unused railroad tracks on Cherry Avenue and replace them with a bicycle path. A parking lot east of Cherry will serve the development.

Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) praised Wrigley for the expansion and the “immaculate” state of its property. “You wouldn’t know that you’re in an industrial area,” he said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot provided a statement welcoming the Mars expansion. “Mars is the latest among many companies who are recognizing our city’s strengths and unmatched talent and expanding operations here,” she said.

The Latest
The governor’s office said line-item reductions of $192,700 were made after a review found that cost-of-living pay raises granted to constitutional officers, legislators and some appointed officials exceeded 5%, which they said was unconstitutional.
The coffee chain’s staffers, who organized with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in 2021, secured a two-year deal.
The man, 40, was on the street about 5:25 p.m. when someone in a car drove up and began shooting.
There’s peace between Johnson and the Bears, which makes this the perfect time to nail down a deal.
A revamped staging of “The Who’s Tommy,” “Memoirs of Jazz in The Alley,” and the Puerto Rican People’s Day Parade are among the cultural and entertainment highlights in week ahead.