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Local News

Joliet annexations for NorthPoint slated next week unless judge says no

Opponents of NorthPoint plans demonstrated their opinion at a November meeting of the Joliet City Council.
Opponents of NorthPoint plans demonstrated their opinion at a November meeting of the Joliet City Council.

The future of the NorthPoint Development industrial park in Joliet faces a legal hurdle Thursday.

The developer, which this week celebrated a ribbon-cutting for its new Chicago industrial park that includes a Ford warehouse, wants to begin annexation next week for the Joliet project.

The Joliet City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the first annexations totaling 355 acres, for what ultimately is to be 1,260 acres brought into the city for the Compass Global Logistics Hub.

But first, a Will County judge will consider a complaint brought by the village of Elwood aimed at undoing the Joliet City Council's approval in April of a pre-annexation agreement for NorthPoint.

NorthPoint and Joliet, co-defendants in the case, have filed a motion to dismiss the Elwood complaint. The motion is to be heard Thursday. If the judge agrees, the City Council is free to vote Tuesday on what likely would be approval for annexation of the 355 acres.

The judge also could issue an order putting the annexation process on hold while considering Elwood's case that the public hearing for the NorthPoint project was not done legally,

"Our entire case is whether they should send it back for a new hearing," said Jordan Kielian, attorney for the village of Elwood.

Kielian noted it's also possible that the judge issue a temporary restraining order, putting the annexations on hold until deciding whether another public hearing is needed.

That would raise the prospect of Joliet repeating a process that lasted several days with more than 150 people, most of them against NorthPoint, speaking out on the project before the City Council voted 6-3 in favor it it.

That would add more suspense to NorthPoint drama that has lasted since June 2017, when the project was first presented in Elwood. The village ultimately rejected it.

NorthPoint, meanwhile, has pointed to its project on the southeast side of Chicago as an example of the economic stimulus it can bring to Joliet.

The developer held a ribbon-cutting Monday at Commerce Park Chicago for a 360,000-square-foot Ford warehouse that opened this summer. The Ford warehouse is the first of five buildings totalling 2.3 million square feet that NorthPoint plans to build on the 200-acre site that was home to Republic Steel before it closed nearly 20 years ago.

NorthPoint wants to develop 16 million square feet of industrial space in the Compass Global Logistics Hub, which would extend into Elwood and possibly Manhattan before it is completed.

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