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Afton Township land could be annexed to make way for unidentified Project Ventus company

DeKALB – As the city continues its quest to lure a second significant company to its south side, staff are compiling preliminary contracts to help further the timeline.

The City Council is set to vote Monday on a pre-development agreement with Project Ventus’ pseudonym company, Ventus Tech Services, to annex and rezone a 500-acre site south of Gurler Road across from the ChicagoWest Business Center site where Ferrara Candy Company is making its new home.

The DeKalb City Council already approved Jan. 13 an extension that expanded the physical parameters of the enterprise zone from the 13 miles it currently has to then include the 500-acre site, which is composed of about four pieces of farmland owned separately by four individuals.

City Manager Bill Nicklas said the agreement will lay out the terms of a development deal if the company, still unknown, decides to come to DeKalb.

“This previews the terms that will be discussed in greater length if the company decides to move to the next steps,” Nicklas said.

Nicklas has said ownership of the land up for annex will then need to be negotiated.

He confirmed Friday that Ventus Tech Services, LLC is not the name of the company, referred to in the past as Project Ventus, since the knowledge-based development is bidding with DeKalb and another city to put down roots. An announcement has not yet been made regarding the company’s identity or when it would come to DeKalb.

The document up for a vote Monday also includes a previously approved tax incentive package including property tax abatement programs tied to job creation and other site details.

The development comes on the heels of Ferrara Candy Company’s announcement that it will invest $100 million into the ChicagoWest Business Center and build a 1.6 million-square-foot distribution facility, bringing with it 1,000 jobs. Ventus’ investment would be significantly more ($800 million to build on the 900,000-square-foot space in ChicagoWest) and bring with it 50 high-end jobs.

Since the new year, city officials and Paul Borek, DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation’s executive director, have been soliciting support from surrounding taxing bodies to expand the boundaries of the Enterprise Zone and to better prepare for the potential knowledge-based company.

Part of the approved 20-year, 55% property tax abatement would require an $800 million investment by the unknown company, a requirement of 50 jobs, and 900,000-square-feet of development, city documents show.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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