Community Impact: Amped Kitchens
Our staff had the opportunity to visit Amped Kitchens’ Chicago location to learn about the impact the business is having in the community and the benefits to the local small food businesses that rent kitchen space.
Amped Kitchens Chicago rents permit-ready, private commercial kitchen spaces within a community of dynamic food makers. Each lease includes on-site amenities including dry, cold, and frozen storage for ingredients and finished goods, as well as office space, meeting rooms, attended shipping docks, packing rooms, and an on-site US Department of Agriculture office. In addition, Amped Kitchens’ tenants have access to expedited government approvals and easier certification for specialty food markets, such as gluten-free, organic, and kosher. The kitchens come in various sizes, with three-compartment sinks, hand sinks, food sinks, commercial hoods, and specialized temperature controls per unit. All Amped Kitchens spaces are inspected by health officials, and tenants may bring in their own specialized equipment and production staff.
"Amped Kitchens Chicago is on course to be 70 percent occupied as of September 2022 and is currently employing approximately 200 workers, many of whom are residents of the nearby communities."
Amped Kitchens Chicago is the third location of co-founders Brian Albert and Mott Smith’s multi-tenant food manufacturing model. Their first two locations are in Los Angeles. Amped Kitchens offers local food businesses the opportunity to scale production faster with lower capital requirements. The facility offers businesses transitioning out of their start-up phase and in need of more room to meet growing demand for their products. Amped Kitchens Chicago is part the Belmont Cragin neighborhood’s Quality of Life plan, developed in 2016 by Northwest Side Housing Center. The Chicago location is approximately 118,000 square feet. The original building had been mostly empty until Amped Kitchens invested $25 million to renovate it. LISC and Broadstreet provided $4.5 million in New Markets Tax Credit financing to fund the renovation.
Amped Kitchens Chicago is on course to be 70 percent occupied as of September 2022 and is currently employing approximately 200 workers, many of whom are residents of the nearby communities. During our visit, we had the opportunity to sample dishes from businesses like Soul Vegan, Wailea Beverage, and Hana Group that are leasing space for commercial production. Soul Vegan offers an award-winning series of salads, sandwiches, and entrees made fresh and packaged at the peak of flavor and is available at neighborhood supermarkets and health food stores. Wailea Beverage produces a natural, fermented beverage rich in probiotics containing a diverse mix of beneficial bacteria. Hana Group offers freshly prepared pan-Asian dishes “on the go” in the retail market. They recently partnered with COSTCO to offer freshly made sushi out of the Amped Kitchens location.