Based on business licensing activity, new industrial openings and expansions in 2015 totaled more than 227,000 square feet, with over 280 new jobs added in the industrial sector alone. Among the new industrial companies the village assisted during 2015 were Master Brew, Swiss Precision, Vinston US Corp. and Windy City Linens. In addition, the village is currently working with a developer on a 134,500-square-foot spec industrial building planned at 800 Northgate Parkway. This would be the first speculative industrial building built in Wheeling in nearly two decades, Melaniphy notied, epitomizing the strength of Wheeling’s industrial market. “Wheeling has 13.5 million square feet of industrial space and the fifth largest manufacturing employment in the state behind Chicago, Elk Grove Village, Rockford and Elgin,” he said. In addition, its industrial vacancy rate is only six percent, compared to an average eight percent vacancy rate throughout the metropolitan area. “Manufacturers are attracted to Wheeling because of our proximity to I-294, rail lines, and both Chicago Executive and O’Hare International Airports,” Melaniphy said. “They appreciate our transportation infrastructure and the fact that we have a significant concentration of newer industrial buildings of various sizes in modern industrial parks. The properties most in demand generally feature modern loading docks and the high ceilings that today’s manufacturers require.” The fact that Wheeling offers varied housing stock nearby, with diverse price points and an easy commute via the Metra station is another factor, Melaniphy added.
PROSPECT HEIGHTS Prospect Heights cannot, by law, levy property taxes because it is not a home-rule community. Therefore, its leaders need to carefully choose businesses to come to town that will generate sales taxes to fund its improvements and city services. Hence, the businesses actively recruited to Prospect Heights are overwhelmingly retail, when possible. On parcels that do not, for one reason or another, lend themselves to retail, industry or other entities which will otherwise serve residents, through job creation or needed services, are sought. Mayor Nick Helmer and the city’s staff have scored some big wins during the past year in terms of economic development. Ruffolo Fresh Market recently opened near the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Palatine Road in a 17,000-square-foot space that had formerly housed Save-A-Lot. This is a second location for owner Louie Ruffolo, the former vice president of operations for Caputo & Sons grocery stores, who took over and renamed the Farmer’s Pride Fresh Market on Algonquin Road in Arlington Heights during 2015. In order to encourage Ruffolo’s investment in Prospect Heights and help the store get off the ground, the Prospect Heights City Council approved a sales tax rebate program last fall. In the first year, the city will rebate 50 percent of the sales tax it receives from Ruffolo Fresh Market
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back to the business. Over the next few years that will decrease to 40 percent, 30 percent, 20 percent and 10 percent by the fifth year. “At the end of five years he should be well-established. It will be a big help to him and we’re happy to be able to do it,” Helmer told the Daily Herald last December. “We thought this would be a nice way to get a smaller merchant started. Not only because of the need, but who wants vacant storefronts?” At the other end of town, in an 87,000-square-foot space at 1241 N. Rand Rd., Tony’s Finer Foods has opened its 13th store in the Chicago area, bringing with it 200 jobs, Helmer said. It replaced Ultra Foods which closed March 1. It, too, has worked out a sales tax sharing agreement with the city that will extend over 12 years. Two other sales tax generators are the recently completed Player’s Pub and Grill at 1250 S. River Rd. and the soon-to-be-completed renovation at the Ramada Inn Plaza at the midway point of the Chicago Executive Airport on Milwaukee Avenue. Player’s Pub is an off-trackbetting facility owned by the Hawthorne Race Course in Stickney. In fact, Hawthorne President Tim Carey visited Prospect Heights for the recent ribbon-cutting. Other ongoing projects in Prospect Heights include the construction of a 700-unit $24 million Uncle Bob’s indoor storage facility on Rand Road, next to the Roto car dealership. The Chase Bank branch at Randhurst will relocate in 2017 to the former Social Security office location across Euclid Avenue in Prospect Heights. Big news was also made in March when Greenbrier Senior Living announced that it has started construction on Greenbrier of Prospect Heights. This $30 million project is a 101-unit assisted living and memory care community to be constructed on five acres of land near the intersection of Elmhurst and Palatine Roads. It will include a three-story, 69-unit assisted living facility, as well as a one-story, 32-unit building for residents requiring memory care. “We’ve created this community to match the lifestyle and needs of the growing senior population, not only in Prospect Heights, but also in surrounding suburbs like Wheeling, Mount Prospect, Northbrook and Arlington Heights, allowing residents to stay close to family and friends who live in the immediate area,” said Patrick Dimaano, Development Director for Pathway Senior Living, which will manage Greenbrier of Prospect Heights. As 2016 progresses, Helmer said city aldermen will continue to call on existing businesses in their wards to act as trouble-shooters and ombudsmen where needed in order to keep those businesses happy in Prospect Heights. In addition, city staff will continue to seek opportunities to sell or develop the open 10-acre industrially-zoned parcel between Piper Lane and Palatine Road, across from the Chicago Executive Airport. They also plan to continue the beautification program along Milwaukee Avenue and will install more “Welcome to Prospect Heights” signs, bringing that total to 20 around the city. “During the next 12 months, progress with new development and the beautification of our city will be our most important product,” Helmer said.
2016 Community Guide & Business Directory
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