JOLIET – Union Pacific has purchased 106 acres from CenterPoint near its Joliet Intermodal Terminal for $26.8 million.
But Union Pacific isn’t saying much about what the land will be used for, or when.
The transaction, according to Will County Recorder of Deeds files, became official on Tuesday. The land records describe the purchased property as vacant land on Millsdale Road along Brandon Road.
The land is south of the Joliet Intermodal Terminal and appears on maps to be near Union Pacific’s rail tracks that are connected to the intermodal just north.
Union Pacific Director of Corporate Communications Calli Hite said in an email the purchase was part of the company’s “continuous effort to strategically support future customer needs at Joliet Intermodal Terminal.”
Will County has seen a 138 percent growth in freight in the past 10 years, compared with “peer regions,” such as Chicago, where growth was 10 percent; Kansas City, where it was 9 percent; Los Angeles, which had 4 percent growth; and Memphis, with 3 percent.
The Joliet Intermodal Terminal is Union Pacific’s biggest intermodal operation in the Chicago region. The facility handles more than 490,000 lifts a year and still has room to grow after opening in 2010. At least 550 acres are developed with another 400 acres available at the existing site to expand operations, according to Herald-News records.
It’s unclear if the latest land purchased will be part of that intermodal operation or even used in the near future.
“We have not announced plans for this property, which is south of JIT, and do not have a timeline for doing so,” Hite said in the email.
Joliet Intermodal Terminal (also called Global 4 or G4) cost the company $370 million prior to opening and it serves both international and domestic intermodal traffic.
Hite stated Joliet Intermodal Terminal customers include local distribution centers critical to the area's economy as well as those moving freight through the Chicago-area transportation gateway.
Joliet Intermodal Terminal was the first to be powered 100 percent by green energy. The facility’s power is supplied by solar panels and off-site wind technology.
Meanwhile Logistics Park Chicago, the BNSF facility in Elwood to the south, does 1 million lifts a year at its 680-acre facility in Elwood, and is in the process of equipping itself to expand to 1.5 million.
An email to a CenterPoint representative was not returned Friday.