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BREAKING: Project Hammer identified, coming to DeKalb's ChicagoWest Business Center

DeKALB – An international confectionery company, known for months as Project Hammer, which owns products from Nestlé, is coming to DeKalb and is bringing with it 500 jobs in the first phase.

Ferrera, a Chicago-based company with international branches, known in the United States for making items such as Nestle Crunch, Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, and more, announced DeKalb has won its bid – beating out a city in Wisconsin – and will move into a 1.6 million-square-foot distribution center in the ChicagoWest Business Center near Interstate 88 by the end of 2020.

The center is expected to be fully operational by the second quarter of 2021, according to a news release from the city. Ferrera purchased Nestlé’s U.S. candy line (based in Switzerland) in 2018 for $2.8 billion. The purchase included brands like Baby Ruth, Crunch Bar and Butterfinger, but not Kit Kat or the Toll House baking line.

Nestlé’s DeKalb location is one of five distribution centers of its kind for Nestlé brands in the United States. Covering more than 850,000 square feet, the DeKalb facility receives and ships confections and beverages, as well as food service, infant and clinical nutrition and baking products, to 22 states and a number of export markets.

“The new distribution complex represents growth not only for Ferrera, but for the City of DeKalb,” said Mike Murray, Ferrera Chief Operating Officer in a press release. “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.”

Founded in 1908 in Chicago, Ferrera is related to The Ferrero Group and makes snacks and confections. It employs 6,000 people across the world, with a diverse portfolio. Ferrera also manages Keebler and Famous Amos.

On Oct. 28, the DeKalb City Council approved plans for the 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 will be Phase 2 of the project.

Chicago-based developer Jerry Krusinski, CEO of Krusinski Construction Company, owns the business park,

A not-yet-announced knowledge-based company is also eyeing the business park, and could bring 100 to 200 high-paying, technology-skilled jobs, Nicklas has said.

Countywide municipalities, including City of DeKalb staff, have for months appealed to the companies by offering property tax abatements, financial assistance in looping water man, grants from the Illinois Department of Transportation for roadway improvements and incentives from the DeKalb County Enterprise Zone.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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