Much-needed economic package will generate short- and long-term benefits
Compass Business Park is a $1.5 billion private stimulus investment in Joliet and Will County, poised to generate up to 1,600 annual construction jobs and 2,300 indirect construction-related jobs, and 10,000 full-time permanent positions and 17,000 indirect jobs.
The warehouse, distribution and light manufacturing development is designed to meet the growing freight and transportation needs of North America’s largest inland port located approximately 55 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. It will play a vital role in accommodating reliance upon and growth of the new economy and serve as an essential supply-chain hub that is critical to the efficient delivery of goods to some 85 million consumers in the Midwest.
With global pandemic creating uncertainty for all residents of Joliet and Will County and forcing many into partial or full unemployment, Compass Business Park offers economic opportunity for workers and new stable revenue for local governments, schools and taxing bodies facing shrinking budgets and growing demands for critical services and supports for the community.
The retail world was already transforming and will evolve even faster in a post-pandemic world. In fact, an unprecedented number of new distribution projects are underway today. Compass Business Park enables Joliet and Will County to tap into this growing economic engine to secure jobs and vital revenue for the future.
Compass Business Park is a responsible, master-planned approach, which incorporates a responsive design – based on community feedback – that includes a closed-loop network that contains trucks and keeps them off local roads.
As part of Phase 1, Compass Business Park is seeking to partner with the City of Joliet to annex 1,262 acres of property in unincorporated Will County, south of I-80 and east of Route 53. The property is currently undeveloped farmland whose owners have sold the land for the proposed development.
Compass Business Park’s developer – NorthPoint Development –is not requesting fee waivers or any TIFs from the City of Joliet.
The growth of e-commerce-related businesses that Compass Business Park would attract will provide employment opportunities to those who have lost jobs or been furloughed due to recent shutdowns and lost income that businesses have experienced.
- According to the University of Illinois’ Regional Economic Applications Laboratory, Compass Business Park – at full build out – would generate:
- 1,200 to 1,600 annual construction jobs plus 2,300 indirect jobs
- 10,000 full-time permanent positions plus 17,000 indirect jobs
- Committed to working with organized labor and local unions, Compass Business Park includes a landmark Project Labor Agreement that establishes terms and conditions of employment, which covers construction and the ongoing maintenance work on buildings after build out.
- Compass Business Park will be designed and developed with the types of facilities and amenities to attract all types of companies, including service companies, research and technology companies, office and retail companies and manufacturing companies.
- For warehouse jobs, initial base pay and benefits is estimated to amount to $39,333 ($18.91 hourly) for a forklift driver and $33,446 ($16.08 hourly) for a fulfillment specialist.
- The amenities will include open spaces, a jogging/walking path throughout the Park, facilities to accommodate Pace Bus and Metra service, and accommodations for electric vehicles at each facility.
The sudden economic downturn has taken a toll on government finances as the decline in sales tax revenues is expected to disrupt the financial health of many local economies and government. Compass Business Park would provide relief to local taxing bodies, which could otherwise be forced to find alternative funding sources, such as increased property taxes, to make up for lost tax revenue.
- NorthPoint would make $2 million in contributions to the City of Joliet upon execution of the annexation agreement.
- Compass Business park would generate approximately $18.7 million in annual local property tax revenue upon full buildout including: approximately $3 million annually in property taxes to the City of Joliet; $1.2 million for Will County; $6.2 million for Elwood Schools; $5.2 million for Joliet Township Schools; $900,000 for Joliet Park District; $610,000 for Joliet Jr. College; $590,000 for Jackson Township; and $400,000 for Joliet Library District.
- Compass Business Park will pay to install all water and sewer lines necessary to serve the Park and will also pay more than $1.4 million in water and sewer connection fees to the City of Joliet.
- The project will generate $32 billion in total economic output during the first 10 years of operations and $5 billion annually after full buildout, according to a report by the University of Illinois’ Regional Economic Applications Laboratory.
- In fact, NorthPoint is required to make community enhancement contributions for purposes established by the City.
- NorthPoint would pay for all the infrastructure to connect Compass Business Park, the internal infrastructure and construction of the bridge to create the closed loop network.
- NorthPoint would pay for infrastructure improvements (roads and sewers) outside Compass Business Park as a result of its impact.
- Over time, 33 cents per square foot would be assessed on any building permits issued by the City for the project, for an estimated amount of approximately $5.3 million at full build out in Joliet.
- NorthPoint would contribute 15 acres of land on the site for a future police and firefighter training facility.
- NorthPoint would be responsible for paying for water and adding capacity if needed (e.g.: construction of a new water tower).
The post-coronavirus culture and economy will bring lasting changes with diversified supply chains and shifting consumer buying patterns resulting in more online shopping.
- With the popularity of online shopping combined with the speed and convenience it offers consumers, the new economy shows no signs of slowing down.
- Every time you shop – either by visiting a brick and mortar store or click online – chances are the product came through a Will County-based intermodal. In other words, the warehousing, manufacturing and commercial buildings don’t create the demand; consumers do.
- Both UP and BNSF intermodals, which service approximately 85 million residents in the Midwest and are key to reaching another 85 million residents in the Northeast, have recently expanded to increase capacity to accommodate the delivery of more goods.
- To meet this consumer demand, the intermodals are, in turn, creating a need for more warehouses to handle the influx of more products.
Compass Business Park will feature a dedicated route from the BNSF and UP intermodals directly in and out of the park, preventing trucks from straying onto local roads and into neighborhoods.
- Trucks can only enter and exit the park via a privately funded bridge over Route 53. Once over the bridge and inside the park, a system of barriers and turnarounds will prevent trucks from leaving, thereby creating a “closed loop.”
- With Compass Business Park’s direct connection to and from the UP and BNSF intermodal facilities, trucks would no longer have to travel onto local expressways and state routes just to ferry shipping containers between the rail yards and warehouse facilities located in nearby towns for temporary storage. This direct connection would result in a reduction of future truck traffic on I-55 and I-80 of up to 40 percent, or nearly 11 million truck miles a year.
- The closed-loop would also prevent trucks from inadvertently entering the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery or interrupting funeral processions or mourners traveling there.
For NorthPoint, Compass Business Park demonstrates that it’s bullish on the state’s economy and reaffirms its ongoing, long-term commitment to Illinois and an experienced and skilled local workforce.
- NorthPoint’s Will County development would be the largest of three major industrial and logistics projects it is currently building in Illinois – the others are in Chicago and the Metro East near St. Louis.
- NorthPoint has been working closely with the City of Chicago to revitalize the abandoned Republic Steel site on the city’s Southeast Side, which will create a $170 million, 2.2 million square foot industrial park, which is where Ford’s Lincoln Navigator is manufactured.
- In the Metro East, NorthPoint will begin operating Gateway Tradeport, a $312 million investment to build a state-of-the-art warehouse and logistics center, this year. The project will result in up to 4,000 permanent jobs at full build out, further positioning the Illinois portion of the Metro East area as an essential Midwest distribution hub.