Wheeling to demolish vacant Evanger's pet food factory
Wheeling will demolish the former Evanger's Dog and Cat Food Co. factory left vacant and dilapidated for about two years. Evanger's left the property around 2017 and began operating in Markham.
Village officials say the former factory at 221 S. Wheeling Road has become dangerous to residents, with parts of the structure visibly unstable and evidence of scavenging at the site. The buildings are adjacent to the town's Metra train station and across the tracks from the Wheeling Town Center and Heritage Park.
The original plant and stables date back to the 1930s, officials said.
"It's in substantial disrepair," Director of Community Development Andrew Jennings said. "It's a danger to the public as it stands."
The village board voted unanimously this week to hire Barrington Hills-based Langos Corp. for about $290,000 to demolish the buildings at the site. The contract also includes a contingency of $25,000 in case the company finds additional wells, underground fuel tanks or grease basins.
The village already has obtained permission to secure the site with fencing, performed pest control and tested for asbestos.
Because the village is paying for the project, it plans to put a lien on the company's property for the cost of the demolition.
"The sooner we get rid of this horrid site and make a safe environment the better," Trustee Mary Krueger said.
The company was founded in 1935 by Fred Evanger, who bred and exhibited Great Danes. He built a canning factory to create dog food because he found pet food at the time to be unacceptable.
Evanger sold the company, and later in 2002, Joel and Holly Sher bought the business. While the factory had previously been primarily manufacturing recipes brought to it by other companies, the Sher family started introducing more of its own food lines.
Future plans for the site are still unclear because Wheeling does not own the property and therefore can't market it for redevelopment. Nonetheless, Trustee Ray Lang said it's important to complete the demolition.
"I'd like to pursue any kind of options that we have to make this property usable once again," Lang said. "It's in a location right next to our Town Center (and) train station."