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Economic Development Committee advances 2 amendments

SYCAMORE – The DeKalb County Economic Development Committee voted unanimously to approve two recommendations to improve future business within the county.

The committee first voted on a boundary amendment to add 500 acres south of Gurler Road and between Illinois 23 and to extend the property line east of Peace Road.

“It would be annexed to the city of DeKalb to provide for utilities and an upgrade of Gurler Road,” according to a memorandum from Paul Borek, executive director for the DeKalb County Economic Development Corp., to the DeKalb County Enterprise Zone Partners.

Borek explained the purpose of the extra acreage.

“It provides a large site for an extraordinarily large project in the enterprise zone,” he said.

Borek said DeKalb County is at a disadvantage without multiple large sites to attract those projects.

One of the projects that is in DeKalb County and the city of DeKalb’s reach is Project Hammer – a food-processing company that could develop 2.4 million square feet of new building space, 1.4 million square feet of which would be manufacturing, with room for expansion, according to the memorandum. Project Hammer would create an estimated 1,000 permanent jobs and 1,000 temporary construction jobs.

The other project is Project Ventus, which is proposing to invest $800 million to develop 900,000 square feet of space during its first phase, the memorandum states. The project would buy a 500-acre site that enables development of one or more identical phases during the next five to 15 years.

The second recommendation that the DeKalb County Economic Development Committee approved was an incentive amendment for the DeKalb Enterprise Zone Tax Abatement program.

Borek said it reduces property tax liability for a certain amount of time, provides jobs, construction, investment and tax revenue.

Project Hammer would generate about $69 million or more through 15 years, which would nearly match the revenue from DeKalb’s industrial base of Nestle, Panduit, 3M, Goodyear and Target during the 15-year period.

And there is a clawback measure to ensure that whatever is agreed to happens, such as about 1,000 permanent jobs, Borek said.

“We need provisions to ensure performance,” he said.

Borek said the identity of the Project Hammer company won’t be announced until the company makes an announcement.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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