DCEDC View: Significant development logged during 2015

More than 1.6 million square feet of industrial and commercial space is being developed in DeKalb County this year. This includes: 1.3 million square feet of new industrial construction, 200,000 square feet of industrial leasing and redevelopment, and 100,000 of commercial construction and absorption. These are the largest volumes since 2004. Capital investment in these projects is projected to exceed $110 million.

Venture One Real Estate and Clayco are building a $40 million distribution center in Park 88 for 3M. This project will bring 3M’s total in the city of DeKalb to 2.5 million square feet. The new building will operate together with two adjacent facilities as a single campus to increase 3M’s capacity to distribute industrial and consumer products to markets in North, Central and South America, as well as Europe and Africa.

DeKalb County’s largest manufacturer – Ideal Industries – is completing a new $18 million manufacturing plant in its own Sycamore Prairie Business Park. This facility is designed to accommodate the production of new products and technologies including ratcheting wrenches and lighting control systems. It was designed by Larson & Darby architects and is being built by Cord Construction.

Sahara Air Products has completed a 17,000-square-foot expansion of its Sandwich manufacturing plant. The expansion doubles the company’s production space and will include overhead cranes, additional welding areas, a paint booth and indoor loading docks. Sahara manufactures high capacity industrial air dryers.

Custom Aluminum Products is completing an expansion to its Genoa manufacturing complex, increasing its footprint to more than 400,000 square feet. The new stand-alone building will add aluminum extrusion to its production operations. Custom Aluminum’s products include windows, doors, partitions, walls and lighting.

Lighthouse Catholic Media purchased the building at 733 Enterprise Drive in the Airport North Industrial Park. They have expanded to DeKalb to increase their distribution of CDs, books and other media.

MED Alliance Group acquired the former Midwest Roofing building on Oakland Drive in Sycamore. They relocated from St. Charles to expand distribution of medical devices.

EggToy Studios expanded operations into the Sycamore Industrial Park. Their designers source, rebuild and fabricate lighting, furniture, signage and accessories to decorate hotels, restaurants, residences and offices.

Wehrli Custom Fabrication relocated to the 417 Borden Ave. building in Sycamore from Sugar Grove. This company specializes in the fabrication and installation of high performance diesel engine equipment for racing and street trucks.

Installation Services purchased the adjacent 427 building to house its communications tower installation business. Their installations have included the John Hancock and the Empire State buildings.

Mason Properties acquired 1888 State St. to house property maintenance operations for the real estate developer. Mason also opened Mega-Grande Laundromat on South Fourth Street in the former Sullivan’s Grocery space.

Cademon Brewery opened a microbrewery and taproom in Genoa late last year. They will soon add production capacity to distribute their craft beers throughout the Chicago Metro area and beyond. The Forge Brewhouse has completed its microbrewery and restaurant in Sycamore. Cademon and The Forge use locally grown herbs and flavorings to distinguish their DeKalb County brews.

Whiskey Acres Distilling Co. was established on the Walter farm in Afton Township. Whiskey Acres is the only farm-based distillery in Illinois, making whiskey strictly from grain grown on site. Prairie State Winery expanded their Genoa Tasting Room to add food pairings to their wine selections. Their wine is made exclusively from Illinois-grown grapes.

Win Aviation completed its new 15,000-square-foot hangar at the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport. With agents around the world, Win specializes in sourcing hard-to-find aircraft and parts.

Irving Construction is building a $14 million, 70,000-square-foot expansion of Oak Crest Retirement Center in DeKalb. Hauser-Ross Eye Institute has completed its new clinic and surgery center on Gateway Drive in Sycamore.

Three new restaurants were developed: Ellwood Steak & Fish House in DeKalb and Smoke on the Green and Dearborn’s Café in Sandwich. Three were expanded: Acquaviva in Sycamore, Fatty’s Pub & Grille in DeKalb and The Corner Grill in Genoa.

Dollar General has completed a new store in Kirkland and announced construction in Waterman and Somonauk. Telepharm will open a pharmacy in Waterman. Shepard Construction is remodeling the former Willows restaurant into a branch facility for Resource Bank.

• Paul Borek is executive director of the DeKalb County Economic Development Corp.