MINOOKA – Grainger is looking to expand its company and its Minooka location is one of the prospect locations for expansion.
Nancy Ammer, CEO with the Grundy Economic Development Council, said staff have met with Grainger to see the expansion plan and she is excited at the idea of the company expanding in Minooka.
“Grainger is at the top. They pay the best wages by far and have the best benefits on the Minooka Road corridor,” Ammer told the Grundy County Board’s Economic Development Committee Wednesday.
According to Donald Hansen, director of real estate and development for Grainger and who attended the committee meeting, the Minooka location is competing with a proposed expansion in South Carolina.
Grainger is seeking a four-year, 50 percent tax rebate incentive for the proposed 1 million-square-foot expansion. The committee approved a recommendation in favor of the rebate for the full Grundy County Board to consider for next week.
The property which Grainger owns is located within a Grundy County Economic Development Project Area boundary on 52 acres Grainger purchased from Liberty Property Trust next to the current facility on Minooka Road.
The rebate acts as an incentive to encourage companies to build within Grundy County.
The rebate – in conjunction with other tools – also helps lessen the impact of the county’s machinery and equipment tax, which taxes machinery as real property.
The state’s other 101 counties classify machinery as personal property, which is not taxed in Illinois.
The rebate is offered to companies starting a new project or expanding existing businesses.
Eligible companies can receive an abatement on their property taxes of up to 50 percent for three to five years. Agreements are negotiated with the company, which can include a three-year rebate that has a 75-percent rebate the first year, 50 percent the second year and 25 percent the third year, or in Grainger’s instance a four-year 50-percent rebate each year.
Ammer said the offer to companies is based on each one’s score, which the GEDC figures using information such as quantity of jobs, quality of jobs, investment into the community, health insurance, and whether or not they own the property among other items.
To qualify for a rebate, the company must submit an application and meet a long list of criteria. Requirements for the tax rebate program include hiring at least 50 percent of workers from the taxing district and having a development worth at least $500,000.
The current taxes collected on the property for 2013 were $1,445, the estimated taxes at the end of abatement would be between $650,000 and $800,000 pending final building design and assessment.
Hansen presented the Phase 2 project to the committee, explaining what Grainger currently does in the existing building and what it plans to do with the new building.
“We have 26 locations in Illinois, with Minooka being the largest,” he said. “We are a fulfillment center that employs 457 people, with 98 from Grundy County.”
He told the board the large number of employees who are not from the county were mainly transferred down from the Niles location when the facility moved to Minooka.
The new building will be between 1 million to 1.3 million square feet and will add at least 130 local employees.
He said the company has existing constraints within the four walls making the expansion necessary for company growth.
The project has a proposed capital investment of $50 million, and has a targeted commencement date of 2016, with completion and operational targeted for 2018.
Ammer said Thursday that Minooka Road is developing with good companies and the addition of a second Grainger building would give a boost to the region.
“It not only adds to the tax base but the people who are employed there are the people buying homes in our county, shopping in our county, and stopping at gas stations on their way to and from work,” Ammer said.
Other taxing bodies – including Minooka Grade School District, the village of Minooka, and Minooka Fire Protection District – were on hand at the meeting and said they support the incentive.