The new year brings with it some definite reasons for optimism concerning continued business development in the greater Kendall County area, based on the steady pace of new stores and industrial business openings here in 2016.
In Oswego, village officials are expected to announce plans in the coming months for the redevelopment of the former Alexander Lumber yard property in the village’s downtown. The old lumber yard has sat vacant and desolate along Washington Street (Route 34) smack dab in the middle of the village’s historic center for nearly a decade. Village officials are hopeful that a new, mixed-use development on the site, when eventually constructed, will serve to attract not only new businesses to the downtown area, but also generate additional customers for existing stores and restaurants.
Meanwhile on Route 30 in Montgomery, 9er’s Grill moved into the former Applebee’s and the pace of industrial development accelerated with construction proceeding on the 52,000-square-foot Old Dominion Freight facility immediately west of the VVF (former Dial Corporation) plant. Old Dominion follows two other large firms to locate in the village over the past year, United Sugars and Michels Corporation. On the retail side, the village secured the opening of a Binny’s liquor store in the Ogden Hill shopping center on the village’s east side, while a car wash and other retail users located along Orchard Road on the village’s west side.
In Yorkville, perhaps the most significant economic development news was Mars opening an expanded production line for Skittles in June. The expansion added 75 new jobs to the approximately 300 jobs already at the firm’s plant on city’s north side. Yorkville also saw its new home building permits outpace 2015’s numbers by August, which the city’s economic development consultant, Lynn Dubajic, said will help the city secure more retailers. More rooftops are among the things retailers are looking for when considering a new location, Dubajic said. Yorkville’s downtown saw changes and growth in 2016, with the opening of new restaurants and the demolition of a number of vacant buildings that most would agree improved the aesthetics of the area.
In Plano, ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held in October for the Groot Waste Transfer Station just north of the Menard’s distribution center on Kendall Farms Road, while in Sandwich the future of the WOW movie theater was assured when it was purchased by the Classic Cinema chain. The new owners promptly remodeled and reopened the theater as Cinema 7 in September.
The business growth over the past year should be welcome news for county residents who have for too long been collectively carrying the lion’s share of the county’s property tax burden. Each new business that locates here helps broaden the property tax base, while new stores help boost local municipal sales tax revenues. In many cases the new businesses also provide yet another source of much-needed local jobs. May the positive trend of increased business activity continue here in 2017.