YORKVILLE – Kendall County officials announced this week a Canadian passenger train car manufacturer is eyeing the mostly vacant Caterpillar plant near Montgomery.
Kendall County Board Chairman Scott Gryder said during a Tuesday, Oct. 6 County Board meeting that Bombardier, Inc., a manufacturing company headquartered in Montréal, Quebec, Canada, may be leasing part of the site to construct passenger cars for Metra.
Gryder said Caterpillar engineering jobs are still expected to remain at the site, but the thought was for tenants to rent space in the former plant – one of those tenants possibly being Bombardier. He said he and other county officials, along with Montgomery village officials, recently met with the potential tenant.
"It feels like it would be a huge win for Kendall County and for the area if we're able to pull it in," Gryder said.
Gryder said Bombardier would take up a significant footprint at the site, but it wouldn't take up the entire campus. He said Bombardier could essentially retrofit into the former Caterpillar plant, since the site is already built for a similar purpose.
Gryder said the potential tenant is expected to bring about 300 employees to the site if everything works out as hoped. He said local government officials are excited about the prospect of new jobs coming to the area.
However, the big caveat about the possible leasing deal is whether the Canadian company will be selected by Metra to build the commuter rail service's new rolling stock for the Rebuild Illinois capital plan, Gryder said. Metra is expected to award that bid before the end of the year, he said.
According to a news release from Metra, the Board of Directors for the commuter rail recently released their fiscal year 2021 capital budget, which includes $69.9 million for locomotive and car rehabilitation and $61.5 million for new rolling stock.
"Which means they're getting closer," Gryder said.
Gryder said White Plains, New York-based Reich Brothers, LLC was one of the companies that recently purchased the former Caterpillar industrial site near Montgomery earlier this year. He said that is how the site is getting pieced out the way it is for potential leasing opportunities.
County officials said during the Tuesday meeting the former Caterpillar site isn't the only industrial park in the county, but it's one that is mostly vacant.
Kendall County Board Vice-Chairwoman Amy Cesich said that, when people look at the county as a whole, industry and manufacturing opportunities are something that is usually looked at. She said it might be worth it to have county officials contact the Metra Board of Directors to urge them to consider going with Bombardier for Metra's rolling stock.
"And when you could see something like this, the possibility of it coming, it benefits all of us, even within the municipalities," Cesich said.