NorthPoint Development on Friday announced plans to build its 1,300-acre Compass Business Park in Joliet.
The company said it has applied for annexation to connect land it has in unincorporated Will County to Joliet.
The announcement fulfills predictions opponents of the plans made when NorthPoint successfully annexed a 103-acre parcel to Joliet in November, creating a potential connection to the city.
Like that annexation, the plans announced Friday would have to be approved by the Joliet City Council.
NorthPoint officials had said they planned to develop a smaller business park in Joliet and would not comment on whether they had ultimate plans to connect it to land it had assembled to the south.
NorthPoint’s plans have been met with fierce opposition from residents, leading to rejection of an annexation plan in 2018 in Elwood.
The company then took a plan for a downsized industrial park of 670 acres to Will County, where it also met resistance. However, the company never followed through with the zoning request before going to Joliet.
The project has enjoyed strong support from building trades unions.
The company plans to develop
16.8 million square feet of warehouse, distribution and light manufacturing space, NorthPoint said in a news release announcing the plan Friday afternoon.
“Working with stakeholders and the community, we have developed a responsible road map for Joliet to generate new revenue and jobs for the city, regional and Illinois economies,” NorthPoint Vice President of Development Patrick Robinson said in the release.
The release came with a statement from Will & Grundy Counties Building Trades Council President Doc Gregory, who had urged the council to approve the smaller annexation.
“Joliet is the perfect fit for Compass Business Park given the area’s economy and need for skilled labor,” Gregory said.
The latest plan will be met with resistance again from local residents, who have argued the Compass Business Park would overload the area with warehouses and truck traffic.
Stephanie Irvine, a leader in the “Say No to NorthPoint” movement that was able to block the project in Elwood and tried to stop the annexation in Joliet, said opponents will look at details of the NorthPoint proposal.
“It’s not as simple as they would like to make it out to be,” Irvine said.
Irvine, who like most opponents to the NorthPoint plans, predicted the company would use the smaller Joliet annexation to open the door for the Compass Business Park, said the Friday announcement was no surprise.
“I think it speaks volumes of the ethics of everyone involved,” Irvine said. “It’s clear that it was always for the bigger project. We knew it, and they knew it. But Joliet officials refused to acknowledge it, which is pretty repugnant.”
Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, who broke a tie vote to approve the annexation, repeatedly has said that there was never any discussion with company officials after NorthPoint lost its bid in Elwood to move the Compass project to Joliet. He could not be reached Friday evening for comment.
NorthPoint in its release pointed to the 103 acres it now has in Joliet as part of the larger Compass Business Park plan.
Upgrades on Breen Road from the Joliet site “would provide access to the proposed Compass Business Park footprint located in what is currently unincorporated Will County just east of Elwood, pending Joliet City Council approval,” the release said.
The company said it also has
220 acres in Elwood that “would also become part of Compass Business Park.”