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posted: 7/23/2013 6:14 PM

Antioch officials ready to offer incentives for company expansion

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  • Antioch officials have authorized incentives for an unnamed company that would become the first user in the Antioch Corporate Center. It has been empty since it opened five years ago.

      Antioch officials have authorized incentives for an unnamed company that would become the first user in the Antioch Corporate Center. It has been empty since it opened five years ago.
    Courtesy of Village of Antioch

 
 

Antioch officials are ready to offer incentives to snare a plum business expansion as the first entry in a long-empty business park on Route 173.

But they are not alone in trying to lure the unnamed manufacturing company and an estimated 600 jobs in an interstate bidding contest.

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Village officials have authorized staff to prepare a local incentive package and amend the redevelopment agreement that established the Antioch Corporate Center west of the Tri-State Tollway in 2008, with details to be determined.

It amounts to a statement of intent on the part of the village to offer what it can in terms of property tax breaks or reduction in fees, for example, in advance of what is being called "Project Lumen".

The unnamed lighting manufacturer employs 300 at another location in Lake County and wants to expand. Antioch is among four finalists, with another unnamed location in Lake County and two others in Wisconsin.

As outlined for Antioch, the operation would occupy 260,000 square feet of space or about six acres under roof.

Planning for Antioch Corporate Center began in 2006, as a means to enlarge the village tax base and attract jobs. The master planned business park developed by Industrial Developments International opened in 2008 and is designated by the village as a tax increment financing district, which allows property tax money to be used for eligible incentives.

Parker Hannifin, an industrial hydraulics company, had planned to become the first company to locate there but the plan didn't materialize. The park is ready with available utilities but it has remained empty.

"To put this one in the ground generates some momentum," community development director Dustin Nilsen said of the latest possibility.

Because Wisconsin is involved, it will take more than what the village alone can offer to land the deal, according to Mayor Lawrence Hanson.

"We need to get the state involved. We're losing too many corporate entities to Wisconsin. They're going after it," he said.

"We're working every angle we can to give it our best shot."

Democratic state Sen. Melinda Bush of Grayslake, said a state incentive will be part of the offer whether it's for Antioch or the other Lake County community in the running.

Bush said she spoke with company officials last week and was told they want to double their workforce to 600.

"These are good paying jobs," she said, and Illinois won't go down without a fight. Bush said a meeting with Gov. Pat Quinn and company officials is set for next week.

"I'm doing everything I can to keep them in Illinois." she said. "They've been here for years. We want that business to stay in Lake County." Hanson said businesses have an edge in this economic environment.

"Today, it's all about the deeper pockets -- whose going to help the most," he said.

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