Peru chosen by roofing manufacturer GAF as site for new plant, creating 70 jobs

On-site production expected to begin in 2024

The farm field located just to the south of the Northern White Sand shipping station will be the new location for GAF, a New Jersey based roofing manufacture on Wednesday, April 27, 2022 in Peru. The business will occupy 142 acres off of Plank Road. GAF is North America's largest roofing manufacture with over 3,700 jobs nationwide in 26 locations across the United States.

“Peru and the entire Illinois Valley are a community of dedicated workers and I’m pleased that GAF is expanding it’s existing Illinois operations.”

—  Gov. JB Pritzker

GAF Commercial Roofing, the largest roofing and waterproofing manufacturer in North America, announced Thursday morning it will build a $80 million, 450,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Peru.

The plant will employ more than 70 workers and will be located north of Interstate 80 and west of Plank Road on the OmniTRAX rail line. The project is expected to break ground in the third quarter of this year and on-site production is expected to begin in 2024.

“GAF is the latest example of a manufacturer choosing Illinois for their long-term future, and it’s no wonder: Our world class infrastructure, competitive incentives and unmatched workforce are the foundation of GAF’s commitment,” said Gov. JB Pritzker in a statement. “Peru and the entire Illinois Valley are a community of dedicated workers and I’m pleased that GAF is expanding its existing Illinois operations.”

Peru Mayor Ken Kolowski said the Upper Illinois River Valley Development Authority, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and Intersect Illinois played major roles in bringing the opportunity to Peru.

“(Wednesday) is a momentous day for the city of Peru and our continuing efforts to keep expanding the job base in Peru for the benefit of all Peruvians as well as our community partners in our three-county region,” Kolowski said.

The new plant will be GAF’s fifth polyisocyanurate (polyiso) insulation manufacturing plant. Polyiso is a versatile, high-performance insulation solution used in roofs and walls, according to a press release from GAF. It is considered to be a sustainable and is used in green building projects. GAF has also received a GREENGUARD Gold certification, meaning it’s polyiso has been tested and proven to have low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The Peru location will provide new offerings never been done before, including enhanced technologies to manufacture polyiso insulation and a new composite polyiso insulation board. The company said it chose Peru because of its location, community values and talented workforce.

Peru had put an economic incentive package together, approving a pre-development agreement April 28. In it, the Peru City Council agreed to extend water and sewer utilities, construct a roadway, repave an existing roadway, adopt a tax increment financing district and sell parcels of land it acquires to a roofing materials manufacturer.

Finance Director Justin Miller said he hopes this project will encourage industrial developments in Peru’s future.

“The partnership created between the city of Peru, GAF and the J. M. Mullis team is a wonderful example of economic prosperity in our community,” Miller said.

“In today’s uncertain economic climate, the city could not ask for a better partner,” City Attorney Scott Schweickert added. “This is a huge win for Peru and the surrounding community.”

Peru’s new GAF plant will be one of 35 other GAF facilities across 27 locations nationally. Peru’s economic team worked with GAF’s site selection firm J. M. Mullis, Inc who recommended Peru to GAF as a site for a new location.

“Peru’s proximity to our customer base, transportation infrastructure and access to outstanding manufacturing and engineering talent make it an ideal location for us to continue our growth,” said CEO of GAF Jim Schnepper.

Members of the economic team include: Alderman Jim Lukosus, Director of Economic Development Bob Vickrey, Director of Engineering & Zoning Eric Carls, Finance Director Justin Miller, Chamlin and Associates, City Attorney Scott Schweickert, TIF Attorney Herb Klein, Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, VP of Industrial Development Ean Johnson, OmniTRAX owners of Peru railroad and Illinois Valley Community College.