Antioch officials finally have an answer for curious drivers who may have wondered during the last six years if anything would ever happen at the Antioch Corporate Center.
"It's a pretty big deal," said Dustin Nilsen, director of community development.
IDI Gazely, the owner of the vacant park prominently located along Route 173 between Route 45 and the Tri-State Tollway, plans to initiate activity on the long empty field with a $25 million office/warehouse/manufacturing building.
A speculative venture, the 454,276-square foot facility will be built without a specific user signed up but confidence there will be general interest from the warehousing and manufacturing fields.
"We think there's demand for it now. There will be tenants that want to make use of the facility at this time," said Tom George, senior vice president at IDI Gazely, which owns and operates properties worldwide.
George said the Chicago area has been among the slowest to recover from the recession, but this project has been in the works for nearly a year. The company also has speculative buildings under construction in Bolingbrook and Joliet.
"We had actually planned to start this building in 2008 and saw the writing on the wall regarding the economy and put the project on hold," he said. "The market has returned to where we think this project makes sense."
The investment is expected to boost property taxes and result in new jobs.
"Those are huge benefits to the village," Nilsen said.
The project will cover 23 acres of the available 80 buildable acres in the first part of a multiphased development. The first part is planned for 1.3 million square feet.
Permits to build the park were approved by the village in 2007, and streets, utilities and other features were installed. While ready for a user for six years, there have been no takers.
"The economic condition from '08 to now has made it difficult for capital investment," Nilsen said. Wisconsin's "willingness to subsidize projects with tax-based incentives" was another hurdle, he added.
Hopes were high last fall when the park was considered as a possible location by Kenall Manufacturing, a lighting company based in Gurnee that wanted to expand. But Kenall opted for Kenosha after receiving an unspecified incentive package from Wisconsin officials.
Antioch agreed to waive permit fees amounting to about $200,000 but did not provide other incentives in what was described as a "teamwork approach" with IDI.
"That's what helped green light this building," Nilsen said.
A fast track design and permitting process to include improvements to Route 173, will allow for groundbreaking this month, with completion scheduled for early 2015. The building will be configured to accommodate one or more users, Nilsen said.
It also will be certified as a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, a rarity for industrial buildings of that size, he added.
Atlanta-based Industrial Developments International was acquired last fall by Brookfield Logistics Properties. It was rebranded this past May as IDI Gazely operating in nine countries.