Joliet OKs new warehouse along Route 53

Council divided, but plan gets green light for location at Route 53 and Millsdale Road

The Joliet City Council in a 5-3 vote Tuesday approved plans for a warehouse along Route 53.

The project faced opposition primarily from council member Suzanna Ibarra, who argued that it would add to truck traffic problems on Route 53.

Arcadia Cold Storage plans a 295,000-square-foot facility in the Joliet Logistics Park at Route 53 and Millsdale Road.

Warehouse projects along Route 53 have drawn public opposition in the past, largely from residents in the area who point to growing truck traffic on the highway and other local roads.

Two residents spoke against the Arcadia Cold Storage project.

Councilwoman Suzanna Ibarra looks over a slide at the Joliet City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 18th, 2023.

But Ibarra, who represents District 5 that includes the area, was the most outspoken.

“I don’t know what I need to do to get the council or the staff to understand what they’re putting my constituents through,” Ibarra said.

Council member Joe Clement pointed to past approval for industrial zoning for the site.

“Respectfully, I don’t need a lecture,” Clement said at one point, referring to Ibarra’s remarks. “I’m going to follow through on what past councils have agreed to.”

Ibarra was joined by Mayor Terry D’Arcy and council member Cesar Guerrero in opposing the plat for the 27-acre site. D’Arcy, however, did not speak against the project and suggested at a Monday workshop meeting that the city could face litigation if the council tried to stop it because of the past industrial zoning for the property.

Voting yes were Clement, Cesar Cardenas, Pat Mudron, Jan Quillman and Sherri Reardon.

Council member Larry Hug was absent.

The one warehouse built in the Joliet Logistics Park seen from the other side of Route 53 at Millsdale Road on Oct. 22, 2023.

The council on Monday heard from a traffic engineer for the developer who said Arcadia Cold Storage is expected to generate a peak of nine trucks per hour in the morning and 274 trucks over the course of a week.

Once opened, Arcadia Cold Storage facility would employ between 60 and 90 full-time workers being paid between $40,000-plus and $180,000, Brandon Alviano, development manager with Saxum Real Estate, told the council.

Further development at Joliet Logistics Park, which is located on the east side of Route 53, has faced questions from the council before because of the need to use Route 53. The development is on the east side of Route 53, and trucks need to use the highway for access to the intermodal yards in Joliet and Elwood.

The city has proposed conditions requiring that Joliet Logistics Park tie into a planned closed-loop road network that NorthPoint Development has promised to create by building a bridge over Route 53. But a bridge has not yet been built.

“We don’t know when the closed loop will exist – if it will ever exist,” Ibarra said.