Interim City Manager Marty Shanahan on Monday signaled that the city does not plan to deter more warehouses from locating in Joliet.
Shanahan was commenting at a Joliet City Council meeting on reports that the Interstate 80 corridor, which includes Joliet, has the highest vacancy rate for industrial space in the Chicago area because of the numbers of warehouses being built.
The numbers were cited by two area residents opposed to a plan for 1.5 million square feet of warehouse space at Spencer and Cherry Hill roads.
The council votes Tuesday on the plan.
Commenting on the vacancy rate, Shanahan said the city does not get involved in market analysis.
“We do not tell laundromats, grocery stores or any other businesses that they cannot locate in Joliet because there are too many in our town,” Shanahan said.
Exeter Property Group wants Joliet to annex 101 acres and zone the land for industrial for two speculative warehouses. An attorney for the developer previously noted that the land has been planned for industrial development since 2007.
But two area residents spoke against the plan for a second time at the Monday workshop meeting, citing numbers from a Colliers International real estate market analysis.
The Colliers analysis found the I-80 corridor had the highest vacancy rate for industrial space in the Chicago region at 11.8 percent largely because of the numbers of warehouses being built without tenants signed up before construction.
“Adding to that I don’t think would be a good idea,” Susan Majcher of Joliet Township told the council.
“You really need to think of the longterm effect these warehouses are going to have if you keep approving them over and over again,” Majcher said.
Majcher was joined by Margie Cepon of Joliet who cited other numbers showing that the vacancy rate has grown from 4.3 percent at the start of 2017.
Cepon urged the council to study the data, saying, “Your decision should be data driven.”