As we approach the close of 2019, DeKalb County is on the verge of attracting developments of significant size and impact that they could begin to transform our economy.
Two potential projects in the city of DeKalb, south of Interstate 88, east of Route 23, involve food processing and technology industries that could distinguish DeKalb County while generating substantial investment, jobs and tax revenue.
The DeKalb Planning and Zoning Commission approved planned development amendments for the ChicagoWest Business Center to accommodate a food processing company north of Gurler Road.
The prospect is considering development of a 1.2 million-square-foot distribution center and 460,000-square-foot packaging center. Projected employment would be about 1,000 workers.
To support expedited development, the city of DeKalb issued a mass grading permit to enable the builder – Krusinski Construction Co. – to accelerate the preparation of 106 acres to accommodate the two proposed buildings.
South of Gurler Road, a knowledge-based company is considering the development of a sizable tract of land over several years.
The DeKalb County Economic Development Corp. has assisted the city of DeKalb and the ChicagoWest Business Center on these projects, working with the state of Illinois and prospective company officials and consultants, together with utilities – ComEd, Nicor, the DeKalb Water Division and the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District.
• K&M Tire, an Ohio-based distributor of passenger, light truck, commercial truck and farm tires, acquired the 202,000-square-foot 2600 Wirsing Parkway building (formerly leased by 3M).
The company founder and officials traveled to the DeKalb Airport in their corporate airplane to tour the building. The city of DeKalb made building plans available and is guiding the company through the occupancy process. K&M is relocating from a smaller building in Bolingbrook.
• Solotech completed buildout of 8,200 square feet of office space in the 711 Fairview Drive building, doubling employment from 20 to 40.
The company specializes in audio, video, lighting and control systems serving the needs of its global entertainment clients
• Byers Brewing Co. established operations on the first floor of the Sundog building in downtown DeKalb. The family-owned start-up brews small batches of distinctive craft beers.
• The Write Stuff school supply company has relocated to the 733 Enterprise Drive building in the Airport North Industrial Park to expand its growing sales and distribution business.
• The Suter Co. is expanding its Bethany Road facility in the Sycamore Prairie Business Park with a two-story office addition. This is the company’s fifth expansion in the past 12 years. Suter specializes in the development and production of convenient, shelf-stable, and fresh meals and snacks.
• Seymour of Sycamore has begun construction of a 30,000-square-foot addition to its 220,000-square-foot headquarters and manufacturing plant on Crosby Avenue in Sycamore. Seymour invented aerosol spray paint in 1949 and now serves industrial, automotive, consumer, commercial and private-label markets.
• Tech-Weld of Elburn has contracted to purchase the 805 Thornwood Drive building in the Sycamore Prairie Business Park. The move will triple the size of its operations in Elburn.
Tech-Weld is a family-owned manufacturer of precision-welded tubes, tanks, cones and weldments. Buildout will include air conditioning and a clean room. Tech-Weld serves industries including aerospace, aircraft, automotive, agricultural and defense.
• Swedberg Electric acquired the 525 Brickville Road building to accommodate its growing commercial and industrial electrical contracting business.
• Alexander Drywall acquired the 917 Borden Ave. building to accommodate its business, and to lease space to By Grainger development and construction and Masterflight Stairs.
• Natural Polymers completed renovations and relocated to the 14438 E. North Ave. building in Cortland from West Chicago. The business is an energy-efficient, urethane foam insulation manufacturer, using environmentally-friendly raw materials.
• Fabtek expanded to the 775 Duvick Ave. building in Sandwich from Plano. Fabtek is a family-owned and operated company specializing in efficient, durable stainless steel boiler systems.
• Whiskey Acres Distilling Co. opened its new 3,600-square-foot visitor’s center on Keslinger Road adjacent to the distillery and tasting room. In September, Whiskey Acres hosted a business roundtable event where President Jamie Walter described the importance of branding to their business, as the DeKalb County Economic Development Corp pursues a branding initiative for DeKalb County.
• The DeLong Co. completed construction of new grain bins to increase storage capacity at the Delco Elevators in Waterman.
Next month, we’ll highlight the success of county municipalities in attracting commercial development.
• Paul Borek is executive director of the DeKalb County Economic Development Corp.