October 20, 2016
This week's Epstein Throwback Thursday takes us back to November 1965 for the opening of a 400,000 sf warehouse for Goldblatt Brothers located at 4000 South Kedzie in Chicago. This Epstein designed and engineered facility, which featured the latest developments in material handling and fire protection, was needed after Goldblatt's original 320,000 sf facility burned to the ground in a spectacular multi-alarm fire on November 13th, 1964, a blaze that lasted over 17 hours. This inferno destroyed Goldblatt's complete inventory of appliances, TV's, radios and furniture and in the process eliminating their ability to meet Christmas '64 deliveries.
Shortly after the fire was extinguished, Goldblatt's contacted Epstein to begin design on replacing and expanding the destroyed warehouse. Within a few months design was completed on this new and improved 2-story warehouse which featured a 315,000 sf / 26' high first floor, a 72,000 sf basement and a 13,000 sf mezzanine. In addition, the facility included truck and rail docks. Ground was broken on the new facility on May 4, 1965 and the building was completed in a little over 6 months!
For those of you not familiar the Goldblatt's name they were a Midwestern discount retailer that was founded in Chicago in 1914 and had stores in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. At its peak Goldblatt's had 20 stores but due to competition from national chains like K-Mart and Sears they closed or sold off all of their retail outlets in the 90s. And, if you are curious, this facility no longer stands as well, as the 4000 S. Kedzie site is now part of the massive rail operations of BNSF Corwith Intermodal Facility.