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Local News

Saddle Creek Logistics eyes move from Elwood to Joliet

JOLIET – Saddle Creek Logistics is considering Joliet for a light manufacturing assembly and distribution plant, city officials said.

A proposed incentive package, including property tax abatement for the project, will be presented to the Joliet City Council for a vote Tuesday, said City Manager Jim Hock.

Saddle Creek Logistics is a Florida-based company that provides distribution, packaging and assembly services. The company is looking at a Joliet site and another in Indiana, Hock said.

The Joliet site is in the CenterPoint Intermodal Center industrial park.

Saddle Creek Logistics now operates a facility in Elwood on Walter Strawn Drive and would move from there, Joliet city officials said.

The railroad crossing at Walter Strawn Drive was closed last month when the Illinois Commerce Commission ruled that traffic on that road created too much of a public safety hazard as it crossed a railroad near Route 53.

Mayor Thomas Giarrante speculated the closing of Walter Strawn Drive may have factored into Saddle Creek's decision to move.

"I think that has a little bit to do with it," Giarrante said.

But Giarrante said Saddle Creek also was looking for more space, which the Joliet building would provide. The facility would be 1 million square feet.

Hock said the Elwood facility is about half the size of the future Joliet site.

"They need a larger facility. That's why they're moving," Hock said. He also said he had heard the Walter Strawn closing was a factor in the move.

The company did not return a call for comment Thursday.

The Joliet plant would employ 200 people. Construction would employ another 250.

"It's a mixture of light manufacturing assembly of off-road recreational vehicles and beverage packaging," Hock said of the company's plan. He said it was possible other products, including cosmetics, could be handled at the plant.

The proposed incentive will be a 50 percent abatement on property taxes for five years. Incentives include a rebate on local sales taxes for building materials, fixtures, furniture and equipment purchased from Joliet businesses.

The abatement proposal is scheduled for review at a meeting of the City Council Economic Development Committee at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

City staff is recommending approval of the incentives. Giarrante said he supports the incentives.

The plan is to begin construction in the spring and open the plant before the end of 2015, Hock said.

Saddle Creek Logistics has 37 locations, according to its website.

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