September 23, 2021
Our 66th project in our Top 100 countdown is 1956’s office and distribution center for Aldens, Inc., located at 5000 West Roosevelt Road between S. Laramie and S. Cicero in Chicago.
This 350,000-square-foot, 15-acre development served as Aldens' headquarters and distribution center for its mail order and retail merchandising operations. Back in the late 50s, Aldens served more than 5 million families nationwide with their clothing, home furnishings, sporting goods, auto accessories and garden needs.
This Epstein-designed and engineered facility featured 50,000,000 cubic feet of air conditioned space, a major advancement for the time period and type of building. As an FYI: the 750 ton boilers were capable of producing the equivalent of 1.25 million pounds of ice daily!
Aldens mail order business required significant coordination within the distribution center. Furthermore, the facility featured cutting edge material handling technology including the "revolutionary" Towveryor System, which was electronically controlled and aided in the transporting of goods from the receiving dock to the warehouses storage shelves quickly and efficiently.
The center also featured a unique employee perk, one that Aldens took great pride in: on-site healthcare. A team of full-time nurses were on-hand to handle roughly 42,000 employee visits per year for minor ailments, comfort treatments, inoculations and things of the sort.
This building also contained a huge culinary operations capable of providing employees 1,900 meals daily in a 450-seat cafeteria and a 75-seat "dining" room.