Joliet Cold Storage building construction under way
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain email@example.com August 28, 2013 9:54PM
Updated: September 30, 2013 7:44AM
JOLIET — Local officials didn’t mind driving on a construction road lined with baseball-size gravel to get to Wednesday’s celebration for a business that will bring 50 jobs to the city.
Though the officials tossed shovels full of dirt for a “ground-breaking” for Joliet Cold Storage, the 230,000-square-foot distribution center for refrigerated and frozen foods has been under construction for three months and is scheduled to open in June.
Owner Dominic Stramaglia said there will be jobs at the center as well as office jobs. Eighty percent of the items will be frozen, and the rest will be chilled, he said, with most of the food items sent to large grocery stores that are part of Fortune 500 companies.
Cold Storage is a division of Villa Park-based Supreme Lobster and Seafood Co., which started 40 years ago. Joliet Cold Storage is its second site; the first is in Bolingbrook.
Stramaglia said the 54-acre site in Joliet’s section of Cherry Hill Business Park is large enough for future expansion. The first phase will cost about $28 million and will occupy 30 acres.
“We just got along with the city of Joliet real well,” Stramaglia said of his decision to locate here.
In April, the city council approved a $96,000 incentive package for Joliet Cold Storage that includes a 50 percent reduction in the building permit fee (worth $55,000) and a waiver of the development impact fee, which is worth $41,000.
“That’s the only way your going to get businesses here,” Mayor Tom Giarrante said at the ground-breaking. “The way we look at it, the more jobs they bring, the bigger the incentives we’re going to give them.”
Company officials told the council that employee pay would be about $15 to $16 an hour.
Will County Board member Tom Weigel (R-New Lenox) said he was on the New Lenox Village Board 30 years ago when a zoning change for land between Gougar and Cherry Hill roads paved the way for Cherry Hill Business Park, which is in both New Lenox and Joliet.
“Now it’s a lot of warehouses and manufacturing, and it’s spilled over to the other side of Cherry Hill Road with this development,” Weigel said of Cold Storage, which will be on the west side of Cherry Hill Road, just south of New Lenox Road. “(The business park) has been a great project, and it created a lot of jobs for Joliet and New Lenox.”
Scott Fleming, vice president of the Will County Center for Economic Development, said the CED’s advanced manufacturing council is targeting the food processing industry and having a food storage center could help.
“With warehousing along the highway, it will attract other corporations and that’s our main goal,” Fleming said.
One attendee at Wednesday’s event said it’s no surprise that the Joliet Cold Storage building is under way and on track.
“What I’ve learned is if Dominic says he’s going to get something done, he does,” Rand Kohler, a credit risk executive with Bank of America, said. “I can’t wait for the expansion.”