Tool retailer Harbor Freight plans to build the largest distribution center yet in Will County. The company wants to start construction in September on a 2.1 million-square-foot building in CenterPoint Intermodal Center-Joliet.
First, Harbor Freight is seeking a five-year, 50 percent property tax abatement from the city, county and two Joliet school districts.
The Joliet City Council Economic Development Committee voted, 3-0, Thursday to recommend the tax abatement to the full City Council.
The Joliet facility would serve about 600 of the company’s 900 stores, Greg Elmore, senior director of human resources, told the committee.
“The reason this is so important to us is a lot of our growth is in the Midwest, Northeast and Eastern seaboard,” Elmore said. He said the company is opening new stores at a rate of two a week.
The building would be the largest in Will County, said John Greuling, CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development. The largest now is a
2-million square-foot distribution center in Wilmington.
The city tax abatement would total $667,000 over five years, said Joliet Economic Development Director Steve Jones. But Joliet only is receiving about $6,000 a year in property taxes now off the vacant land. The net gain in taxes for Joliet would be $637,000, Jones said.
Harbor Freight initially would employ 250 workers and expand to a workforce of 500 during the course of five years.
Elmore said the Joliet facility would open in May if the plan moves forward on schedule.
Harbor Freight has a store in Crest Hill. The company has two other distribution centers in South Carolina and California.