Joliet offers incentives for freezer warehouse
by bob okon firstname.lastname@example.org March 19, 2013 2:04PM
Earl Bennett (at left), a wide receiver for the Chicago Bears, high-fives students at Timber Ridge Middle School Wednesday, March 20, 2013, in Plainfield. The school was awarded the visit as a grand prize winner for their success in Fuel Up to Play 60, an in-school nutrition and physical activity program. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 22, 2013 11:21AM
The Joliet City Council voted Monday to give $96,000 in incentives to bring a cold storage warehouse to the city.
The business, to be called Joliet Cold Storage, would employ about 30 workers full-time and open in early summer 2014 if the company goes forward.
“We haven’t made a decision to come to Joliet,” company representative Andy Burns told reporters after the council vote. He said the company is still considering other locations.
City Manager Thomas Thanas said the city structured incentives to assure a savings on development costs if the company builds at the proposed location at Cherry Hill and New Lenox roads. The company would build a 217,000-square-foot food freezer warehouse.
“We were competing with other towns in Will County for this facility,” Thanas told the council.
The company will first seek property tax abatements from the city and other local governments. The city is willing to give the abatement, which amounts to 50 percent off of property taxes for five years, but is offering an alternative incentive if other taxing districts do not agree.
In place of the abatement, Joliet would cut its building permit and development fees. The building permit fee would be reduced by 50 percent for a $55,000 incentive. The Development Impact Fee would be waived, saving the company another $41,000.
Burns told the council that the warehouse would employ full-time workers and only hire temporary employees at peak periods for seasonal work. The use of temporary employment has become a labor issue at some Will County distribution centers, where workers say they do not get opportunities for permanent employment.
Thanas said Joliet Cold Storage would hire workers at $15 an hour plus benefits. He said some employees at the warehouse will make up to $55,000.
The same company has facilities in Bolingbrook and Wilmington, according to the city staff memo on the project. Affiliated operations include Bolingbrook Cold Storage Company and Supreme Lobster and Seafood Company from Villa Park.