Film production complex to open at vacant NW Side Marshall Fields warehouse next year

Karen Jordan Image
Monday, May 22, 2023
Film production complex to open at vacant NW Side warehouse next year
Fields Studios will open next year at a vacant building, the old Marshall Fields warehouse, in Avondale, Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The vacant Marshall Field's warehouse and distribution center on the Northwest Side is getting new life as a film production complex known as Fields Studios.

Development is already underway on the project, which will include nine soundstages on two lots totaling more than 130,000 square feet. Supporters say this will make an already popular destination for movies and television even more desirable.

"In the past decade, there's been a great emphasis on attracting productions from the coasts, and this will most definitely continue," said Jonah Zeiger with the Chicago Film Office.

Developers and film industry officials celebrated what's being called Chicago's first purpose-built studio by signing a beam that was added to the structure. It's estimated the facility will impact the local economy by creating 12,000 production-related jobs.

"This just legitimizes Illinois and Chicago as a major film community, and we're really excited about that," said Tony Barracca with Local 476 Studio Mechanics.

Stopping by to lend his support was Derek Dudley, the developer of Regal Mile Studios in the South Shore neighborhood. That's scheduled to open in early 2025.

"Chicago has been a destination city for production. The one thing we haven't had is infrastructure to support it," Dudley said.

Construction on Fields Studios is expected to be complete early next year. At that point, they'll be open for business. But, all eyes are on the writers' strike to see if there'll be any movies or TV shows ready for production.

"The writers' strike is certainly going to get in the way a little bit, but I'm sure they'll resolve their problems. But, content creation is not going away, so we'll have a home for them when they're ready," said Zain Koita with Knickpoint Ventures.