“Our primary focus is on redeveloping complex obsolete industrial assets in strategic markets that offer our tenants close proximity to significant population and strategic infrastructure,” says Jeremy Grey, a partner and the executive vice president of development at Hilco Redevelopment Partners (HRP). “We have the expertise and experience to work through challenging brownfield projects and achieve successful results that leave a positive impact in the communities we develop in.”
Grey’s background is in civil engineering—he earned his bachelor’s degree at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He garnered development experience at engineering firms Parsons Corporation and CEMCON, Ltd. before an 11-year tenure at CenterPoint Properties as its VP of development.
Three years ago, Grey was drawn to HRP, where he oversees the development platform and helped build the development department to a 25-person team. It was the culture, people, strategy, and business plan that enticed him to join the company.
“HRP specializes in acquiring and redeveloping complex, industrial assets that have run their useful lives in strategic markets throughout North America,” the EVP says. “We take a very modern approach where we fully align the remediation, demolition, and the development, then put these sites back into commerce in a sustainable way.”
HRP also strives to form creative partnerships with different stakeholders across the country, from environmental agencies to transportation departments to city and community leaders. It’s these collaborations that really get the job done, Grey notes, as well as HRP’s three-pillared philosophy that underscores all of its projects: environment, economy, and community.
“The environmental pillar encompasses our commitment to sustainable, green development through remediating contaminated brownfield sites to the highest environmental standard,” the EVP says. “We recycle the majority of the building materials and other materials that exist at these facilities we acquire.”
This puts HRP in a position to create a highly sustainable product on the other end of redevelopment. The company incorporates sustainable design initiatives into its developments, such as solar panels, infrastructure for electric vehicles, LED lighting, water-efficient fixtures, extensive landscape plans, and energy-efficient building envelopes.
In the economic pillar, Hilco puts an emphasis on local hiring and takes on projects that will create a significant amount of construction and permanent jobs. “The sites that we buy were often significant economic engines at a point in history,” Grey says. “We take those sites and redevelop them into sustainable, state-of-the-art facilities. These dormant and shuttered facilities are brought back into the modern economy and a significant amount of jobs are created in the construction and operational phases.”
As for the community element, Hilco prioritizes keeping the surrounding communities informed about the project plans and makes a pronounced effort to make the redevelopments accessible to residents and the new workforce. That includes working with stakeholders to ensure that public transportation serves these sites and improving offsite infrastructure connecting to the community.
Hilco’s dedication to large-scale, challenging brownfield projects in very strategic locations and sustainable development is what sets it apart from its competitors. The sites in its portfolio are located in key markets with significant population and close proximity to infrastructure that drives supply chain savings.
Exchange 55 in Chicago
The Exchange 55 project is the redevelopment of a former coal-fired power plant that sits on 70 acres adjacent to Interstate 55 in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago. The power plant was originally built in 1924. Hilco acquired the property in 2017 and kicked off an extensive demolition and remediation project.
“We have been making a lot of great progress ever since then,” Grey says. “It’s a transformational project for the city of Chicago. We have developed a state-of-the-art logistics facility that’s over a million square feet. It will be Chicago’s largest LEED-certified industrial building and it includes many sustainable initiatives.”
HRP has created hundreds of project and union construction jobs during the construction phase. Thousands of new permanent jobs that will benefit the surrounding neighborhood will be created once the facility becomes operational. Those jobs will be easily accessible to community members through enhancing public transportation and the public infrastructure supporting the site, including a multiuse path which will allow people to walk or bike to work easily.
Hilco acquired the former Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery in June 2020 through a competitive bankruptcy process. The 154-year-old refinery previously accounted for about 28 percent of the gasoline supply for the entire northeast and sits on 1300 acres, which is approximately 2 percent of the City of Philadelphia.
“It’s a very strategic project for us,” Grey says. “At the end of the day, we are looking to transform the site into an environmentally conscious, multimodal facility that will be able to accommodate 13 to 15 million square feet of new sustainable buildings.” These facilities will support a wide range of uses, including warehouse and distribution, e-commerce, light manufacturing, and life sciences.
The 15-year project will also generate over 30,000 jobs, including union construction, project, and permanent jobs. The ripple effect of the development will create its own ecosystem of economic opportunity, bringing in a demand for restaurants, gas stations, healthcare, and many other businesses to support the significant job creation.