Metra to turn former Wickes Furniture store in Harvey into storage facility

Hank Sanders/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Metra Rail, which operates trains in Chicago and the surrounding areas, is in the process of transforming a long vacant warehouse in Harvey, into a warehouse where materials will be stored to support Metra’s service, according to a spokesperson for the passenger rail service.

Much about the space, which once housed a Wickes Furniture warehouse and showroom, is still unknown including when it will be fully operational.

Just northwest of the Interstate 80 exchange at Halsted Street, the warehouse’s central location played a role in Metra’s decision to bring some business to the area.

“In reviewing the six-county area, proximity to interstate highway access and other Metra operations were determining factors when selecting this location as it supports efficient distribution of materials throughout the Metra system,” said spokesperson Martha Hill.

The storage facility is being constructed at a time when Metra is in upgrade mode, including rebuilding stations on the Metra Electric line. The stations of 79th Street and Chatham, 87th Street and Woodruff and 103rd Street and Rosemoor will be closed for about seven months to be fully upgraded, according to a news release from June.

“When completed, all three stations will have enclosed, ADA-accessible street-level entrances and lobbies with elevators; new stairs and headhouses; new composite deck platforms; and new lighting and signage,” the news release stated, noting the contract to complete the work is worth $33.9 million.

The warehouse is 153,934 square feet and situated on 455,773 square feet of property. Construction includes alterations to bring the building up to code requirements and modify the interior space to provide offices and improved material storage capabilities, Hill said.

Harvey Mayor Christopher Clark did not return messages.

This warehouse expansion comes almost a year after the Harvey Transportation Center received a $70 million upgrade last October.