Efforts to spur development of a sparsely populated business park in West Chicago could soon pay off.
Mayor Ruben Pineda revealed Monday night that several yet-to-be-named projects may be coming to the DuPage Business Center south of Roosevelt Road.
Pineda said during his State of the City address that the city is partnering with the business park’s owner — the DuPage Airport Authority — and Choose DuPage to promote the 800-acre campus and “develop incentive plans for new development.”
“These efforts have led to several exciting prospects already bubbling to the surface,” Pineda said.
While Pineda said it’s too soon to reveal the details, he shared hints of what’s coming.
For starters, plans are being reviewed for nearly 800,000 square feet of warehouse distribution space at the business park, which is one of the few locations left in DuPage County with sizable pieces of buildable land.
City officials also are expecting to receive plans within a year for another 750,000 square feet of manufacturing and distribution.
Finally, discussions are expected to start within the next 12 months for a proposal that would bring another 1.1 million square feet of manufacturing and distribution.
“For the first time in over 10 years, I have been informed that we might be running out of available property in the DuPage Business Center,” Pineda said. “That, my friends, is a great problem to have.”
Economic development is one of four priorities identified in West Chicago’s strategic plan, which will guide decision-making for the next decade. The other priorities are community image, intergovernmental partnerships, and celebrating the city’s diversity.
Pineda said economic development efforts include retention of existing businesses and recruitment of new ones. For example, the city has launched westchicagonow.org to showcase its key industries, business districts and available properties.
The mayor also talked about the former General Mills site.
He said progress is being made on the creation of a long-range master plan to reposition the property along Washington Street “to proactively attract new investors and employers to the community.” He said it’s possible the land could be divided into developable “pads” that would be marketed to smaller users.
Some of the other accomplishments and ideas Pineda highlighted during his 36-minute speech are:
• A collaboration between the Gallery Theater Company and People Made Visible resulted in the theater company finding a permanent home at 129 Main Street.
• The West Chicago Library District is talking with the West Chicago Cultural Art Commission about providing space on its front lawn for a piece of public art by Chicago artist Matthew Hoffman.
• Various groups are working together to have West Chicago nationally recognized as an official America in Bloom city. Two judges are scheduled to visit the city July 26. To prepare, service clubs are organizing a downtown planting day from 8 a.m. to noon May 12.
• The city has added a dedicated section on its website for Spanish speakers. Tu Ciudad is a result of the city’s commitment to “One West Chicago,” which is “a call to action to broaden participation in community leadership, invest in long-term relationships and form partnerships” with all members of the community.
• The city is planning to work with the Small Business Administration to assist Latina women interested in opening their own business.
While a reduction in state funding is causing challenges for the city, Pineda said it’s “a time of great promise.”
“We are committed to our pledge to our residents and businesses to provide exceptional service and transparent government,” he said, “while focusing on doing what we can do to relieve the financial burden on our customers.”