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DeKalb City Council approves 1.2 million-square-foot distribution center in ChicagoWest

1.2 million-square-foot distribution center in ChicagoWest approved

DeKalb resident Dwayne Brown speaks to the DeKalb City Council on Monday in support of  ChicagoWest Business Center growth.
DeKalb resident Dwayne Brown speaks to the DeKalb City Council on Monday in support of ChicagoWest Business Center growth.

DeKALB – Second Ward Alderman Bill Finucane issued a resounding pitch Monday to future business leaders and developers looking at DeKalb, which is now one step closer to clinching a company that could bring over 1,000 jobs to the city.

“On behalf of this council, I want to make it very clear, speaking of these corporations that are considering coming here, we want you to locate here,” said Finucane, the senior member of the City Council. “We welcome you with open arms.”

The council unanimously approved plans Monday for a 1.2 million-square-foot distribution facility owned by a not-yet-announced international food company, one of two companies looking at space in the ChicagoWest Business Center near Interstate 88. The food distributor hopes to set up a facility that would have 1,000 jobs by 2020 at the 343-acre site between Route 23 and Gurler Road, with an additional 466,000-square-foot food packaging center, which would be Phase 2 of the project.

Chicago-based developer Jerry Krusinski, CEO of Krusinski Construction Company, which owns the business park, said he was “thrilled to be here” Monday after the vote.

“I would like to thank everybody and reassure the city that we will continue with the same high standards that we developed early on,” Krusinski said. “And we look forward to hopefully attracting this great company to DeKalb and making a formal announcement in the future.”

City Manager Bill Nicklas also addressed concern from neighboring residents who expressed worry about water runoff affecting their property. Kathy Kivisto said her driveway is the closest to Gurler Road and is “very concerned” about potential road expansion affecting her property value.

“The concerns of the residents are legitimate concerns,” Nicklas said. “And the city will see that those concerns are addressed. We can’t escape attending to the fact that for the first time in at least a generation, we’re looking at a large development that will have career jobs, and not just 20.”

The council also approved adjusting language in its contract with the DeKalb County Enterprise Zone, a package of state and local tax incentives. The enterprise zone amendment broadens definitions for qualifying companies to include data centers, documents show.

The ChicagoWest site also could be home to an international tech company, although neither employer has yet been identified since DeKalb still is competing with other municipalities in Wisconsin and Illinois for the bid.

“We need this,” Mayor Jerry Smith said.

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