Elk Grove business park reaches pre-recession occupancy
Elk Grove's industrial park has reached occupancy levels not seen since before the recession in 2008, a trend attributed to a rebounding economy and competitive networking by the village, officials said.
The 62 million-square-foot park, the largest in the country, has cut its vacancy rate significantly the past seven years, and several companies have plans to expand or move to the village.
In 2009, the park was about 13 percent vacant, with about 8 million square feet of available space. Now less than 4 percent, or about 2.5 million square feet, is unoccupied, said Josh Grodzin, the village's director of business development and marketing.
"The economy is picking up, and we're aggressive with our networking," Grodzin said.
The biggest gains have been in the trucking and logistics industries, he said. With proximity to O'Hare International Airport and a resurgence in the country's consumer-driven economy, the village has branded itself as a convenient center for transporting goods.
The village also has become a hub for data storage as companies contracting with big-name tech brands use warehouse space to store cloud data on secure servers, Grodzin said.
Meanwhile, manufacturing companies able to weather the recession have been expanding or relocating to the village, Grodzin said.
In November, the village backed a Cook County 6B property tax incentive to help Fanmar Inc., a sheet metal fabrication company, relocate its Bedford Park and Westchester operations to Elk Grove. The 6B incentive lowers a site's property tax assessment for 12 years, allowing Cook County to compete with less expensive properties in the collar counties.
Earlier this month, the village board supported four similar incentive deals for businesses in or relocating to Elk Grove. The largest will help CH Realty VII demolish an existing structure and construct a $10 million industrial building in its place at 2080 Lunt Ave.
The success has come at a cost. The village a has spent $100 million the past two decades on infrastructure improvements at the 6-square-mile business park, Grodzin said.
Another key part of the effort has been marketing. The village board approved spending about $466,000 for the 2016 "Makers Wanted" campaign on billboards, TV and in print. Later, the board of trustees approved another $150,000 for media blitz promoting the business park, including internet and email marketing, direct mail, social media, the Made in Elk Grove Manufacturing Expo, and public relations.
The industrial park generates about 80 percent of the village's revenue, Grodzin said.
"We're competitive out there to attract new business and maintain what we have," Grodzin said.