Chicago-based metals recycling company General Iron Industries Inc. and Reserve Management Group (RMG), which is based in the Cleveland area and is involved in several recycling sectors, have announced what they call a strategic partnership that will unite the two companies. The alliance will result in relocating General Iron’s operations to an RMG location in southeast Chicago.
General Iron has spent several years responding to scrutiny from neighboring property owners seeking to rezone and gentrify its section of north Chicago. That scrutiny has increased with a proposal to lure Amazon to the district as that online retailer seeks a “second headquarters.”
In the news release announcing the partnership, General Iron and RMG say they are working cooperatively with Chicago to begin the transition process. Upon relocating, General Iron will terminate operations at its current location, which consists of about 21.5 acres of land. General Iron’s principals will retain ownership of that land, which is not part of the strategic partnership with RMG.
The two companies say the combined venture is committed to serving as a model for the mission of the Green Economic Industrial Corridor, which seeks to revitalize the Calumet region in south Chicago with jobs and business opportunities while improving the environmental health and safety of the region and showcasing sustainable development. The partnering firms indicate they will make what they call “a substantial investment” in building a facility at RMG’s Calumet region location. The transition, including construction of an enclosed metal shredder, is expected to be completed in 2020.
During the transition, operations and management offices at General Iron’s current location will continue.
“General Iron looks forward to the next steps in the transition of the business to a new state-of-the-art facility in a new Chicago location while ensuring continuity of this critical service of recycling for the city,” says Marilyn Labkon, president of General Iron.
“As part of RMG’s continuing commitment to our employees, customers and the environment, we are excited to join forces with General Iron and [its] team,” says Steve Joseph, CEO of RMG. “This strategic partnership will create unique capabilities, positioning RMG and General Iron to expand the value and expertise that both companies provide to our customers and surrounding communities.”
By late July, the announced move was already running into questions from Southeast Chicago residents. According to an online report from Chicago’s WTTW television station, about 20 Southeast Chicago residents picketed on Monday, July 20, at General Iron’s current site in north Chicago.
Residents quoted in the article questioned General Iron’s track record and its promise to build an enclosed shredding plant that will improve the environmental health of the region. According to the article, representatives from General Iron and the protest group are scheduled to meet in early August.