DeKALB – Builders say 3M’s $40 million expansion project is on schedule to be complete in August 2016, and officials say they are confident the tax abatement program that made it possible was a good move.
St. Paul, Minnesota-based 3M broke ground on its expansion project in September after DeKalb County taxing bodies agreed to tax incentives that will save the company about $4 million over 10 years.
The DeKalb Public Library, School District 428, the DeKalb Park District and the DeKalb County Board approved the deal along with the city of DeKalb.
“To host an expansion of a prime business in our community is a testament to the assets we offer in terms of infrastructure and workforce availability,” DeKalb Mayor John Rey said.
The expansion project will create an interconnected campus in DeKalb’s Park 88 off Peace Road.
The company plans to exit its two buildings at Barber Greene Road and Wirsing Parkway, and employees will move to the Park 88 facilities when construction is complete.
The company hasn’t announced major job creation with the project and employs about 530 people in the county, according to the DeKalb County Economic Development Corp. Clayco, with offices in St. Louis and Chicago, is the construction company on the expansion project.
“It’s going very well,” said John Bunce, project director with Clayco.
Bunce added that the project was on schedule and will be complete in August 2016, which is when 3M is expected to move in.
”Concrete foundations are complete, and site utility work is nearing completion,” he said, “with concrete wall panel and structural steel work to start soon.”
Although the project is certainly extensive, it’s nothing Clayco is unaccustomed to, he said.
“This is the third and largest building we have built in DeKalb for 3M,” he said.
The contractor also built the other two Park 88 buildings that 3M occupies.
CBRE acts as the leasing agent for the privately owned buildings that 3M will exit. It’s a good time for them to be available, said Chris Zobel, managing director at CBRE.
“The market right now across the greater Chicagoland area is the strongest it’s been in 50 years,” Zobel said. “The economy is good. Companies are expanding. Confidence is there.”
Zobel declined to comment on whether the 3M buildings had generated any interest.
He didn’t give a timeline for signing a new tenant, but said typically an agent could expect to see new tenant interest about six months before a site becomes available.
“Demand is outpacing supply,” he said. “We’re seeing it across all types of companies – manufacturing, distribution, etc.”
The DeKalb County Economic Development Corp. and the city of DeKalb will make an effort to attract potential business to the warehouses, Rey said.
“It will take a combined effort on the part of community development,” he said. “The Barber Greene Road [3M] facility was retrofitted for warehousing, but much of that will be relocated or removed and it will return to an industrial site, which should be attractive to an industrial firm looking for expansion.”