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Borek: Teamwork key to landing Ferrara distribution complex

In a joint press release Jan. 31, the city of DeKalb and Ferrara Candy Co., an emerging powerhouse in the North American confections and sweet snacking categories, announced the company committed to 106 acres in the center of the ChicagoWest Business Park. Construction on the 1.6 million-square-foot distribution complex will begin immediately.

“This new distribution complex represents growth not only for Ferrara, but the city of DeKalb,” said Mike Murray, Ferrara’s chief operating officer. “This is an exciting time for our company. As our business continues to grow and our portfolio expands, we need additional space to match our ambition. The distribution capacity in DeKalb will allow us to continue to scale our network in the U.S.”

DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith pointed out that the expected corporate investment in facilities and permanent jobs in DeKalb will give “a much-desired boost to the local economy and provide new reasons for families to settle in DeKalb. Ferrara brings a reputation for beloved brands and high-quality products, along with solid career opportunities to our community. We are very excited they chose DeKalb.”

Ferrara’s new distribution complex is expected to be fully operational in the second quarter of 2021 and will bring about 500 jobs to the city.

On behalf of the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation, we are thrilled with Ferrara’s selection of the city of DeKalb and DeKalb County for this new packaging and distribution complex. DeKalb was a finalist for the company’s interest because of its utility infrastructure, its proximity to Interstate 88, its workforce and its business-friendly taxing bodies.

Abundant utility capacity from ComEd, Nicor Gas Co., the city of DeKalb and the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District, and congestion-free access to the Midwest transportation network are essential to large-scale industrial development and national distribution operations.

The DCEDC and the city administration worked closely with ChicagoWest Business Center, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and state Reps. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, and Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, to secure state and local incentives through the DeKalb County Enterprise Zone to attract Ferrara.

Bill Nicklas, DeKalb city manager, was very gratified by DeKalb’s selection. “The projected investment of more than $100 million by Ferrara in the city of DeKalb affirms the wisdom of our community’s commitment to thoughtful business incentives, advanced water and sewer infrastructure, a trained workforce and the power of our two institutions of higher learning, Northern Illinois University and Kishwaukee College.” Nicklas is optimistic that Ferrara’s investment will spur other high-quality corporate interest in the city of DeKalb in the coming years.

DeKalb County’s sizable labor market extending throughout northern Illinois supports the development of new business operations and creates the opportunity to attract employees to live in our rich, dynamic communities.

The DCEDC commends the city of DeKalb and DeKalb taxing bodies for expediting development and delivering prudent incentives that will expand the city’s economy for years to come. Partnering taxing bodies joining the city of DeKalb were DeKalb School District 428, DeKalb County Government, DeKalb County Forest Preserve District, DeKalb Park District, DeKalb Public Library, DeKalb Township, DeKalb Township Road District, Kishwaukee College District 523 and Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District.

Likewise, DeKalb County and the communities and taxing bodies that participate in the DeKalb County Enterprise Zone are to be commended. The presence of an Enterprise Zone is critical to attracting major development projects.

Finally, developer Trammell Crow Co. and general contractor Krusinski Construction Co.’s diligent and resourceful investment in making the ChicagoWest Business Center “shovel ready” for mega developments like the Ferrara Candy Co. were crucial in attracting Ferrara’s commitment to the DeKalb County economy.

CBRE served as Ferrara’s real estate broker.

Information about the DCEDC and future projects can be found at

• Paul Borek is executive director of the DeKalb County Economic Development Corp.

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