THE WILMINGTON CONNECTION — representatives of the city and township of Wilmington celebrated the groundbreaking of the Michelin distribution facility last Wednesday, including (from left) Attorney Scott Nemanich, partner in Hinshaw and Culbertson LLC, Wilmington Township road commissioner Bill Weidling, Fire Chief Tim Zlomie, city engineer Colby Zemaitis, ESDA director Dennis Housman, Fourth Ward Alderman Steve Evans, Police Chief Darin Plotts, Fire district trustee John Cairns, Ridge Development CEO Jim Martell, city administrator Tony Graff and Mayor Marty Orr. The Michelin project will go vertical this year, and be completed next summer.
The second tenant in the RidgePort Logistics Center broke ground on a 1.7-million square foot facility last week, which will create over 200 construction jobs and as many new employment opportunities.
Michelin is expanding its distribution operation in Illinois with a state-of-the-art facility at the logistics center on the west side of Interstate 55 at Lorenzo Road. It will be moving out of a facility in Monee that is too small and not expandable.
Jim Martell, CEO of Ridge Development, the developer of the RidgePort Logistics Center in Wilmington, said the site's location alongside I-55 and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad line was a tremendous differentiating factor for his company to become involved in the project.
"To be able to have rail service, to be able to have the infrastructure of I-55, and now the potential of the Illiana Expressway really, really enhances this part of metropolitan Chicago, Will County and the city of Wilmington," Martell said.
Mayor Marty Orr would like to think Michelin selected the Wilmington site because of how the city did business with the company, one of the largest tire manufacturers in the world; but he knows there was more to it.
"I think it was a combination of things; the location by I-55 and the Burlington Northern; the diverse market for the jobs they were seeking in Will County, and in a small way, the city of Wilmington and the economic incentive packages we offer this type of business to come into Wilmington."
The Michelin project will create 200 permanent jobs, which makes the company eligible to receive more than $2 million in sales tax exemptions and $126,000 in job training grants from the state. Michelin will have to retrain 100 of the Monee workers for positions in Wilmington to tap some of those incentives.
"There are a lot of blue collar people in our community, so we're excited to bring any type of job creation that allows them to work close to home, so they don't have to travel," Orr said. The mayor expects those new jobs will offer pay in the $15 range.
The Wilmington City Council also approved nearly $400,000 in utility tax breaks and will abate some of the facility's property taxes.
"The project is a big first step in the actual development of RidgePort," commented Orr. "To have not only a large distribution facility, but a company that's as reputable as Michelin to choose the city of Wilmington over other areas in Illinois and adjoining states ... I think it's a great step."
Ledcor Construction Inc. is the general contractor. Peter Gasparini, regional manager for Ledcor, said the project affectionately code named Project Lego will be a 40-acre building built on 90 acres of land. By the time it's complete, Ledcor and its subcontractors will have installed over 1,200 insulated pre-cast panels totaling more than 435,000 square feet of pre-cast. With the installation of 5,700 joists, columns and beams, Ledcor will have erected nearly 7,000 tons of steel; delivered, fabricated and erected on site. Safety will be ensured by 18,000 sprinkler heads and over 1.5 million gallons of fire protection water supply stored on site.
Michelin's confidence in the RidgePort project, as well as more than $8 million in infrastructure work already completed at the logistics center, is expected to generate more interest in the location. Mayor Orr believes the city could attract some light manufacturing businesses as well as warehouses - there are a lot of acres for diversity, he said.
Gasparini said the project will go vertical this year. Michelin is expected to take possession in summer 2015.
Martell also used the groundbreaking ceremony to explain that Graaskamp Boulevard, the main thoroughfare into the logistics center, was named after Dr. James "the Chief" Graaskamp, professor of Real Estate at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, who is nationally renown for his real estate savvy and for starting the number one real estate education program in the country.
The logistics center's first tenant, McKay TransCold, opened its facility along the rail line in May.
Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2015
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Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2015
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