Opinion editorial by: John A. Carpenter | President & CEO of Choose DuPage
Through the Choose DuPage to Choose DuPage Economic Development Alliance, public-and private-sector leaders continue to work together to ensure a business-friendly environment. In 2019, Choose DuPage will be focusing on five key areas to further capitalize on our unique position to ensure continued success for economic development growth in DuPage County:
- Commercializing Ideas at Argonne National Laboratory. Choose DuPage is actively turning the work of the scientific dream team at Argonne National Laboratory into economic profit for the region. We have been working to attract companies that would best benefit from its world-class facilities and research and have also taken a great leap forward by including Argonne in our plans for Innovation DuPage, our new business incubator and accelerator. By pioneering advancements in energy and predictive medicine, Argonne is paving a path for DuPage’s prosperity.
- Solving the “Last Mile-First Mile” Commute. Any company that calls the suburbs home is challenged to find ways to alleviate commute issues for their workforce. While the three Metra lines serve DuPage County, many office buildings are not conveniently located to these public transit options. To keep industry on the move, we have been actively working to tackle this “first and last mile” commute problem. Choose DuPage has partnered with InnovaEV, Hamilton Partners, and the Village of Itasca to launch a pilot program, using electric vehicles to transport employees from the Itasca train station to the office development Hamilton Lakes. We are also exploring options including enhanced pedestrian walkways and bike share programs with local business. The ultimate goal is to provide a dependable, cost effective commuting solution—and to attract the millennial workforce from downtown Chicago.
- Developing and Encouraging Growth at DuPage Business Center. The DuPage Business Center is a prime example of Choose DuPage’s commitment to innovative development opportunities. Choose DuPage has worked diligently over the past two years to successfully secure interest. In October, the DuPage Airport Authority announced new facilities for Suncast Corp., Greco and Sons Inc. and Norix Group Inc. will be built at the 800-acre campus south of Roosevelt Road, in addition to two other pending projects. In total, the five projects would amount to more than $24 million in purchased land and encompass roughly 170 acres. The campus is ideal for a variety of businesses, and is poised to bring yet another 1.1 million square feet of manufacturing and distribution in 2019.
- Facilitating Western Access to O’Hare Airport. Choose DuPage continues its work with the Illinois Tollway and regional public-and private-sector leaders to establish the Western Access O’Hare corridor as a premier global business location. Providing meaningful access to O’Hare from the western suburbs will transform the region—saving $145M in travel delays; creating over 13,000 jobs annually during the project; boost local tax revenues by $29M annually; and most important, lay the groundwork for the creation of 65,000 jobs by 2040. Illinois Route 390 now connects from Lake Street to Illinois route 83 and Choose DuPage is working together with the Illinois Tollway and DuPage County towards the completion of a critical bypass connecting I-90 and I-294. This project is vital to the future of our region and will remain a priority for Choose DuPage until it is complete.
- Enhancing Global Competitiveness. Foreign-Direct Investment (FDI) is a powerful engine for economic growth and prosperity—it creates jobs, spurs innovation, and drives exports. DuPage County is home to over 1,000 locations of foreign-owned firms, representing 43 countries, which make a significant contribution to our economy. In 2018, Choose DuPage has been dedicated to fostering foreign-direct investment in the county and has partnered with organizations like the Chicago Regional Growth Corporation and Chicago Metro Exports to improve our competitiveness on the global stage and engage in international trade. Fostering further foreign-direct investment and facilitating export initiatives in our community continues to be a priority in 2019.
Home to nearly 40,000 businesses and 700,000 jobs, DuPage continues to attract a variety of industries that shape its booming economy including manufacturing, technology and healthcare. New businesses are moving to make DuPage County their home, while local industries continue to expanding their footprint. By investing in new ideas and nurturing the framework of industry, DuPage continues to serve as an example for economic growth and development.
As we kick off 2019, I am excited to explore new ways Choose DuPage can continue to work towards expanding the regional economy and showcase our area as a proven, premier global business location.
Green Bay Packaging (GBP) is set to break ground for the construction of a new 170,000 square foot complex. Downers Grove was chosen as a central location to serve the Chicagoland area and allow for future growth of the business.
With over 85 years of packaging experience, Green Bay Packaging is more excited than ever to add additional capacity to their growing footprint. Executive Vice President, Bryan Hollenback states, “Green Bay Packaging follows the needs of their customers and we have seen a strong increase in demand in the Chicago area. We are proud to extend our company’s service offerings, and our dedicated team of highly experienced professionals are ready to fulfill this demand.”
“With this expansion, we are strengthening our operations in the Chicago area,” explained Will Kress, President and CEO of Green Bay Packaging. “This allows us to respond more quickly to changes in market demand and supply high quality products to our customers.”
The Chicago Distribution Center’s new plant in Downers Grove, IL will be a modern state-of-the-art building that will house a high-tech design department as well as expand warehouse capabilities.
“When we began looking for a new home for Green Bay Packaging’s Chicago Division, Downers Grove made a lot of sense because its central location allows us to efficiently service customers across the entire Chicagoland area.” said Kevin Shields, Vice President and General Manager of the Chicago Division.
“We are absolutely thrilled that Green Bay Packaging has chosen Downers Grove in which to build their new 170,000 square foot facility,” said Mayor Martin Tully. “Founded in 1933, Green Bay Packaging is a company with a proud heritage that we warmly welcome and are honored to have join our community,”
About Green Bay Packaging Inc.
Started in 1933, Green Bay Packaging Inc. is a family-owned, vertically integrated company consisting of corrugated container plants, folding cartons, recycled and virgin linerboard mills, pressure-sensitive label rollstock, specialty converting operations, timberlands, and a sawmill facility. Headquartered in Green Bay, Wis., Green Bay Packaging Inc. is dedicated to innovative development of its products and forestry resources, with a focus on quality, sustainability and continuous improvement throughout all of its manufacturing facilities in 14 states. For more information about Green Bay Packaging., visit www.gbp.com.
Economic Indicators Report shows thriving healthcare industry; diverse industry growth.
Choose DuPage has released its 2018 Third Quarter Economic Indicators Report proving DuPage County’s sustainable economic health and consistent growth. Data shows DuPage County’s unemployment rates, as well as industrial and office vacancy rates, have all lowered over the past year. The county unemployment rates have dropped from 4.4 percent from the third quarter in 2017 to 3.1 percent, maintaining the lowest unemployment rate in the region. DuPage County’s steady and sustainable growth illustrates its capacity to cultivate new and expanding businesses for long-term growth.
The healthcare and social assistance industries employ more than 75,000 workers in DuPage County—nearly 12 percent of the county’s workforce. The healthcare industry has added more than 14,000 jobs over the last five years and is projected to expand by more than another 1,200 jobs over the next year.
2018 Third Quarter Report Highlights:
- DuPage County continues to maintain the lowest unemployment rate in the region at 3.1 percent – down more than one percent during this same time last year from 4.4 percent. The county’s unemployment rate is lower than both the State of Illinois (4.2 percent) and the United States (3.9 percent).
- Since 2017-Q3, industrial vacancy rates decreased from 5.2 percent to 4 percent; while the office vacancy rate dropped from 16.6 to 14.7 percent.
- The fastest growing industry in DuPage County continues to be the healthcare and social assistance sectors, expanding at an average rate of 4 percent each year over the past five consecutive years.
“DuPage’s economic indicators show continued development throughout the county,” said John Carpenter, president and CEO of Choose DuPage. “We’re seeing tremendous growth in the healthcare sector, including a variety of diverse industries and employers offering a number of high-paying job opportunities.”
DuPage County is home to nearly 75,000 business taking advantage of the region’s highly educated and skilled workforce. Together, these companies represent more than 652,000 jobs across a variety of industries operating throughout DuPage.
Download the Choose DuPage 2018 Third Quarter Economic Indicators Report here.
Austrian-based metrology company chooses Itasca property in DuPage County for U.S. HQ
Alicona, the world’s leading global supplier of optical 3D surface measurement solutions, recently moved their US headquarters to Hamilton Lakes in Itasca from Bartlett, Illinois. The relocation of the multi-million-dollar company will further expand the global footprint of DuPage County. Alicona has been hiring and expanding their product line leading up to their HQ move on September 15 and will bring an initial 10-15 jobs to the area.
Stefan Scherer, CEO of Alicona, selected the Hamilton Lakes site for its high quality and central location. “Hamilton Lakes, and specifically 150 Pierce, provides Alicona with the best combination of quality, visibility and accessibility as we introduce new products in the North American market,” said Scherer. Alicona is based in Austria, with additional subsidiaries in Germany, France, UK, USA, South Korea and Italy.
Alicona’s new office space at Hamilton Lakes, a Hamilton Partners property, holds approximately 4,000 square feet on the first floor of the Pierce Road building. One of the leading commercial, retail and industrial real estate developers in the Chicagoland area, Hamilton Partners owns 20 properties in DuPage County. The company’s current portfolio includes 53 office, 50 industrial, 10 retail, and 6 residential properties totaling more than 20 million square feet of space in and around the Chicagoland area.
Fostering Foreign-Direct Investment (FDI) by opening world markets to DuPage County has become a top interest for leaders of the Choose DuPage Economic Development Alliance over the past few years. In addition to domestic company growth and expansions in DuPage, working closely with the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and Intersect Illinois, DuPage County has also expanded its global footprint with international businesses seeking to relocate or expand operations in the United States. Today, there are roughly 1000 locations of foreign-based firms representing 43 countries are located in DuPage County, providing workforce opportunities throughout the region.
“Foreign-Direct Investment is a powerful engine for economic growth and prosperity creating jobs and spurring innovation,” said John Carpenter, president and CEO of Choose DuPage. “Alicona is a world-class global leader in technology and we are excited to welcome them to DuPage. Our market is robust, and we are proud to continue serving as an economic development model for the Chicagoland region community.”
Nearly 75,000 businesses have chosen DuPage County to establish and advance their enterprises. Low taxes and operating costs, strong labor demographics, an educated and skilled workforce, proximity to hotels and dining, as well as shopping, golf and recreational activities are just a few of the benefits DuPage County hopes will attract continued business development for the region.
Article published by Daily Herald, October 3, 2018, view here.
After years of setbacks, the DuPage Business Center in West Chicago is getting several new projects that officials say will bring jobs and economic development to the area.
New facilities for Suncast Corp., Greco and Sons Inc. and Norix Group Inc. will be built at the 800-acre campus south of Roosevelt Road. In fact, construction already has started on a 782,000-square-foot building that Batavia-based Suncast will lease from Pritzker Realty Group.
During an event on Wednesday, the business park’s owner — the DuPage Airport Authority — welcomed the three companies while announcing two other pending projects. All five would amount to more than $24 million in purchased land and encompass roughly 170 acres.
“This means construction of more than 1 million square feet of new buildings, hundreds of jobs located here in DuPage County, construction jobs, and positive economic impact,” said Stephen Davis, chairman of the DuPage Airport Authority Board.
Revenue stemming from the deals will be allocated toward FAA-mandated upgrades at the airport.
Meanwhile, estimates show the Suncast and Norix projects will jointly provide nearly 400 permanent and more than 600 construction jobs, generating a combined $94 million in economic impact. Employment estimates from Greco are still under evaluation, officials said.
Suncast, which manufactures custom wood structures and resin products, is planning to replace a warehouse in Montgomery with the future warehouse, distribution and showroom facility in West Chicago.
Sean Maher, managing director at Pritzker Realty Group, said the 40-acre site was chosen in part because of its proximity to Batavia. It’s also not too far from expressways.
“It’s a good location,” said Maher, adding that the DuPage Business Center is one of the few sites left in the county with sizable pieces of buildable land.
Norix Group, which makes commercial furniture, decided to stay in West Chicago and build a new 200,000- square-foot global headquarters in the business park.
Construction is expected to start next year.
“This is a great area for us,” said Shane Edwards, vice president of operations at Norix. “This is exactly where we want to be. So we decided to build.”
Meanwhile, Greco and Sons, an Italian foods distribution company based in Bartlett, has signed a $6.2 million agreement to build a new food processing and warehouse center on 46 acres.
Originally dubbed the DuPage National Technology Park, the site was envisioned for high-tech businesses. State officials had so much faith in the project that the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded a $34 million grant for roads, utilities and landscaping.
But the site struggled for years to find tenants. Officials say that changed when the airport formed a partnership with West Chicago and NAI Hiffman, the commercial real estate firm marketing the business center.
Working with other taxing districts in West Chicago, a “strong package” was offered to attract developers and companies to the site, according to Mayor Ruben Pineda.
“The package, which includes many tax incentives, made perfect economic sense in the long run due to the enhanced revenue streams that will be realized for our community,” Pineda said.
DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said he’s “delighted” by the progress that’s been made at the business park.
“I’ve always viewed this 800-acre campus as a real opportunity,” Cronin said. “We have no doubt that this is a gem of a piece of property. With the airport nearby, I am very bullish on the future of this area.”
Article published by Bisnow, August 28, 2018, view here.
Chicagoland is on its way to becoming the next big data center hot spot.
After a steady run of tight supply and high demand, the market is ramping up for construction on a number of new projects this year. The Chicago market added 43 megawatts of data center supply last year, and construction is picking up with 16.6 megawatts underway.
Limitations on power, paired with space constraints in Chicago’s downtown, has driven owners and operators to start building in Chicago’s suburbs. More available land options outside the city, in addition to lower average building costs and available power, has made suburban areas attractive destinations for large-scale data center developments. The village of Itasca, 27 miles outside of Chicago in DuPage County, is becoming the new hot spot for high-tech data centers. Just over 10 miles from Chicago O’Hare airport, the suburb is on the recently opened Interstate 390 extension of the Elgin O’Hare Western Access project. Itasca is leading the area around O’Hare to emerge as the Chicago region’s most active data center hub.
“There’s definitely a herd mentality when it comes to not only data center owners and operators but data center tenants,” JLL regional Midwest director and co-leader of JLL’s Midwest Chicago Data Center Services Sean Reynolds said to Crain’s Chicago. “They want to be on the tour list as an owner of a data center.”
One data center company leading the herd is RagingWire. In January, the owner and operator bought 19 acres of data center space at Hamilton Lakes Business Park in Itasca. RagingWire brings instant credibility to the market. The company is a subsidiary of NTT, one of the largest information technology and data center solutions companies in the world, and operates massive data center facilities in Ashburn, Virginia, Northern California and Dallas — the first, second and third largest data center markets in the world, respectively. The Chicago data center market is fourth in the world, running neck and neck with Dallas.
RagingWire’s Itasca facility is in the beginning phases for a 200K SF data center. The center could eventually grow to be 500K SF, Hamilton Partners partner Patrick McKillen said.
The site will feature RagingWire’s latest data center designs, built for rapid deployment and mission critical operations, all at a market-leading price. The new design comes in single-story and two-story models and can be move-in ready in a matter of months. This speed to market, coupled with reliability and cost-effectiveness, will attract the big hyperscale cloud companies and Fortune 1000 enterprises to set up their computing systems at RagingWire in Itasca.
“We are evolving and innovating our engineering designs and construction models to give hyperscale customers and large enterprises the functionality, flexibility and connectivity they need — all at lower costs than have been offered before,” RagingWire Vice President of Global Accounts Steve Manos said.
An extensive fiber network, affordable electricity costs and minimal risk of natural disaster have made the Chicago area one of the nation’s top data center markets. Chicago’s population density and growing employee base are attractive to data center users looking to locate their apps close to their users. Chicago also has a vibrant tech community of skilled workers ready to work in the data centers.
“First-quarter numbers indicated data processing, hosting and related industry operations employ more than 1,600 workers in DuPage County, earning an average annual wage of more than $96K,” Choose DuPage Economic Development Alliance President and CEO John Carpenter said. “This industry is not only providing attractive opportunities to our local workforce, the benefits these facilities offer to businesses looking for high-level data storage, recovery, resiliency and other critical data-related services are paramount for our continued regional economic development.”
Plans for a number of other developments targeting the tech sector are in the works in Chicago’s suburbs. For example, at the beginning of 2018, Brennan Investment Group announced plans to develop 86 acres of infill space into a $1B technology park in Elk Grove Village.
“With these high-quality data centers coming into Itasca, there is a direct benefit from tax revenue that goes into schools and services in the area,” Itasca Mayor Jeff Pruyn said. “There’s a strategic advantage to hosting a data center like RagingWire, and we are excited to see the continued growth it brings to our village.”
With more companies moving their operations to Chicago, and supply picking up as new construction permeates the outer suburbs, data center owners and operators are preparing for even more activity throughout the region.
This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and RagingWire. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.
SMS Assist, one of Chicago’s fastest-growing technology companies, today announced a major expansion with the opening of a second area office in suburban Naperville.
The expansion will allow SMS Assist, headquartered in downtown Chicago, to accelerate investments in its industry-leading workforce and business solutions, which bring efficiency to multisite property management. The company, which plans to build out the new office initially with dozens of customer service riles, has a global workforce of more than 800 employees.
“Our success is driven by our people,” said Taylor Rhodes, SMS Assist’s CEO. “They’re the reason we’re here today. This new office allows us to continue creating opportunities for the team while also strengthening what’s already the best customer service in the industry.”
SMS Assist, recognized for its internal talent development program, chose Naperville for the new office because of the city’s strong business environment and highly skilled workforce. Naperville, with numerous colleges and top-ranked school districts, is regularly rated as one of the most educated, best places to live in the country.
The company has subleased 35,000 square feet in CityGate Centre near Interstate 88 and Route 59. It will open the facility at 2135 CityGate Lane next month with about 30 workers, says CEO Taylor Rhodes (reported by Crain’s).
The new office, which features free covered parking, an on-site gym, building food court and dedicated training space, will allow the company to accommodate up to 400 employees. The hiring process is already underway, with job descriptions available online.
SMS is expanding in the burbs at a time when suburban companies, such as McDonald’s, continue to migrate downtown in search of labor. A handful of companies—such as Motorola Solutions, Walgreens, Fieldglass and startup Catalytic—have locations in both the city and suburbs (reported by Crain’s).
“You get a lot of great talent downtown,” Rhodes said. “There are other pools of people who look favorably at not having to get on a train and come downtown. We studied quite a few spaces before choosing this one. The labor, proximity to college-educated folks, the mix of type of talent was right. It also gives us a second site, which helps with disaster-recovery requirements” (reported by Crain’s).
SMS Assist enhances how customers experience some of the nation’s biggest brands, streamlining dozens of facilities maintenance services with best-in-class contractors. The company’s technology platform offers real-time quality assurance and transparency across thousands of locations simultaneously.
For two years running, SMS Assist has earned a spot on the Forbes World’s Best 100 Cloud Companies list.
About SMS Assist
SMS Assist is a Chicago-based technology company providing multisite property management to a roster of Fortune 500 clients with a team of more than 800 dedicated employees and more than 186,000 service locations. Using its proprietary software platform to manage its network of more than 20,000 affiliate subcontractors, SMS Assists offers a suite of property management benefits including leveraged pricing of products and services, $50 million insurance policy, real-time services validation, instant invoicing, automatic service audits, and data analysis to ensure quality and cost efficiency. SMS Assist is revolutionizing multisite property management services for clients including JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), O’Reilly Automative, Inc. (NASDAQ: ORLY) and Invitation Homes Inc. (NYSE: INVH). To learn more, visit smsassist.com.
Clear Height Properties and its JV partner Corcoran Commercial Real Estate, have launched the renovation and repositioning plans for 26Twentyfive, formerly known as Butterfield Office Plaza which was acquired in July.
In conjunction with the launching of that program, the partnership has retained Oakbrook Terrace-based NAI Hiffman to lead the rebrand of the property and manage and lease the building. Executive Vice President Dan O’Neill, Senior Vice President Adam Johnson and Associate Ryan Maher of NAI Hiffman have been retained by the new owner to lead the leasing efforts. In doing so, the NAI team will leverage a modern brand, new name and website while differentiating the project from the many office centers, plazas and parks in the greater Oak Brook area.
2625 Butterfield is a 200,774, square-foot, multi-story office building situated on 10 acres with premier visibility from the I-88 Tollway. The property has office spaces available for lease ranging in sizes from 700 to 9,000 square feet.
“26Twentyfive, is an exciting edeavor for us,” said Dominic Sergi, CEO and president of Clear Height Properties. “We are excitied to reposition this asset into a new modern workplace environment that will inspire users of various sizes.”
A robust capital and redevelopment plan has been established for the asset in the coming months. Chief among the priorities for the renovated and repositioned 26Twentyfive include further amentizing the asset with the addition of modern conference facilities, fitness center, refreshed entrance, lobby and expanded WiFi lounge.
“The amenity race isn’t just for the trophy, class A assets anymore. Businesses looking to attract a multigenerational workforce while providing a premier location for its employees and clients is important more now than ever,” Johnson said. “We are excited to work with Clear Height Properties to breathe new life into a well-located office asset, with outstanding, untapped potential.”
Press release issued by NAI Hiffman.
Featured in Daily Herald.