Itasca's job growth driven by technology and manufacturing
At least four companies are moving to Itasca this year, all with an emphasis on technology and manufacturing.
Since the beginning of the year, Itasca has approved four businesses that are bringing roughly 186 jobs to the community. These businesses include MEI Systems, Abbott Molecular, a new NTT data center and Slipmate, which is moving back to Itasca after more than 20 years.
Mayor Jeff Pruyn said businesses like these choose Itasca because of an upgraded ComEd substation with increased electrical capacity and proximity to O'Hare International Airport.
"We're certainly excited that they've made this place their new home or come back," Pruyn said. "It was the industrial park that first led to the growth of Itasca years ago. It speaks volumes for the desirability for infrastructure and location."
MEI Systems specializes in making machines for cutting eyeglass and sunglass lenses. These machines are sold to manufacturers including Walmart, Oakley and Luxottica, which produces brands such as Ray-Ban and glasses for retailers such as LensCrafters and Target Optical.
The Itasca site will be MEI's regional headquarters, where the Italian-made machines will be showcased for prospective clients, with training and maintenance for the machines provided on-site, according to information provided by the village.
MEI Systems is currently located in Wood Dale and will be moving to a new 71,115-square-foot building in Itasca's Hamilton Lakes Business District. Village officials expects the company to have 70 employees. The timetable for completing the building is unknown.
Although MEI won't generate sales tax for Itasca, village officials believe people attending training sessions for the machines or visiting the showroom will stay in nearby hotels and eat at local restaurants, generating tax revenue for the village.
Abbott Molecular is a Des Plaines-based medical equipment company that develops and markets clinical laboratory products. Recently, it has been manufacturing COVID-19 tests for use throughout the country, with more than 1 million tests distributed.
Abbott will occupy the entire easternmost building of the Bridge Point Itasca complex at 1015 W. Devon Ave. The building is about 246,000 square feet, with about 27,000 square feet being office space and the rest warehouse/storage space.
The company will use the space for warehousing biomedical test kits. The site has 211 parking spaces, 38 exterior docks, and two drive-in doors. The business will have 60 employees working in two shifts.
Japanese data company NTT bought RagingWire in 2020 and has now built a new 19-acre data center campus, with construction completed in March. There are two buildings totaling 250,000 square feet and offering 72 megawatts of IT processing power.
Village officials anticipate NTT will generate $200,000 in utility taxes the first year, based on electricity usage, and more than $1 million when full occupied. The data center employs 16 people operating in two shifts.
Slipmate is a coating solutions company providing services to food, manufacturing, aerospace, automotive and other types of companies. It will be moving from Elgin back to its former facility at 761 District Drive that it left in 2000.
The building is about 36,700 square feet with 4,000 square feet to be used for office space. The business will have 40 employees working on one shift.