Prolific 2022 development expands DeKalb County tax base, grows investments

Mega scale projects, local business expansions compose 2022 DeKalb County development


Paul J. Borek, Executive Director and DeKalb County Enterprise Zone Administrator

During the past three years, record investment has generated epic volumes of development in DeKalb County.

From 1987-2019, the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation’s public and private partnerships have contributed to attract $2 billion of investment in the development of 10.8 million square feet of industrial space for the area.

During the past three years alone, DeKalb County attracted $1.9 billion of investment in the development of 7.1 million square feet of space. More than $830 million was invested to develop 2,060,068 square feet of new construction, acquisition, leasing and renovation projects during 2022.

Mortenson Construction is building three additional data halls, increasing the size of the Meta DeKalb Data Center campus to 2.4 million square feet. That represents an investment of over $1 billion with operational employment projected to be 200. The Phase 2 project extends development to 2025 with daily construction employment ranging from 1,000 to 1,200 workers.

The Amazon Distribution Center in the ChicagoWest Business Center in DeKalb is now completed. The 700,000-square-foot building has been developed by Trammell Crow and built by Krusinski Construction Company.

Wehrli Custom Fabrication has completed and moved into their new 100,000-square-foot building at 231 Harvestore Drive in DeKalb. The building triples the size of the company’s footprint to accommodate rapid growth in the performance diesel equipment industry.

Cole Pallet has acquired and expanded operations into 300 Harvestore Drive in DeKalb formerly occupied by Wehrli Custom. The company specializes in the design and production of standardized and custom pallets using state of the art production machines.

Crafco acquired about 10 acres of excess land from CST Storage to expand and consolidate their multi-building Harvestore Drive operations. Crafco manufactures and distributes asphalt and concrete crack sealer products for the road building industry.

Mortenson leased 115,000 square feet of space at 711 Fairview Drive in DeKalb from owner Zilber Property Group. The contractor manufactures and assembles building and operational components for the Meta DeKalb Data Center.

Software company Bitcube leased space and contracted for electrical power to operate an Automated Bitcoin Data Mining Center at the DeKalb I-88 Business Park on Seventh Street in DeKalb. Black Box, a technology supplier to Meta, also operates within this multi-tenant building. A 13.7-acre parcel is available for development at the site.

Sunvest Solar is building a solar energy garden on a 23-acre South Seventh Street site leased from owner Jim Planey. A 10-acre parcel ideal for industrial development is available.

Industrialist, investor and developer David Huang of Elgin acquired an 86- acre site along Fairview Drive east of Peace Road adjacent to Interstate 88. NAI Hiffman is marketing the property for build-to-suit or sale for industrial development. Huang also is the CEO and president of World Richman Manufacturing Corporation in Elgin.

Greco/DeRosa Investment Group of Bartlett, owner of the Panduit campus in DeKalb, is marketing the southwest corner of Peace Road and Fairview Drive for build-to-suit or speculative industrial building development.

Classic Auto Factory acquired the 1600 Pleasant St. building, one of the former Wurlitzer buildings, in DeKalb. The building has been remodeled into a one-stop shop for classic automobile storage, service, restoration and sales.

Nehring Electric Works acquired two industrial buildings totaling 102,000 square feet on East Lincoln Highway from Ideal Industries in DeKalb. One will continue to be leased by CEVA Logistics, international shipping partner for 3M.

Phoenix Investors acquired the 1900 Pleasant St. former General Electric building in DeKalb. The company is a leader in the acquisition, development, renovation and repositioning of industrial facilities throughout the United States. Phoenix will focus on renovating and leasing space in the 265,000- square-foot complex located along Peace Road.

The Agora Tower residential mixed-use building by Pappas Development is nearing completion in DeKalb. The four-story apartment complex on Locust and Fourth streets contains 94 luxury apartments.

Silverthorne Builders is constructing a headquarters office building in the Sycamore Prairie Business Park to service its homebuilding operations in Cortland, DeKalb, Sycamore and Genoa as well as throughout the Chicago area and the Quad Cities.

Chris Mayer has begun Phase 2 of the BCM Business Park redevelopment in Sycamore. A 25,000-squarefoot building is being constructed to house fabrication of tiny houses. The easternmost buildings of the park are being remodeled for commercial office, distillery, microbrewery and banquet operations.

The Suter Company is installing new production equipment at its Sycamore May Street production plant to increase capacity to accommodate ongoing growth of its shelf stable and fresh food products.

Nighthawk Video has completed its acquisition and expansion in the Sycamore Prairie Business Park. Co-owners Ron Proesel and Bob Brigham are pleased that most of their video presentation equipment and technicians are back on the road serving the live musical entertainment industry.

Construction of the Syngenta R & D Innovation Center in DeKalb County near Malta is nearing completion. The 88-acre facility will include more than 70,000 square feet of laboratory, office, auditorium, collaboration space, seed processing, greenhouses and research fields. The operation will employ 80 to 100 science professionals.

Bayer is in the process of converting seed production and processing equipment from corn to beans to balance regional capacity in their Midwest network. The company has also made access and circulation improvements and will be adding new office space at their extensive Waterman operation.

Custom Aluminum Products is completing construction of a new aluminum production line at its Genoa plant. This 11,000-square-foot addition is the latest in a series of expansions Custom Aluminum has completed in recent years.

Owens Corning acquired Cortland-based Natural Polymers, a fast-growing manufacturer of innovative, sustainable spray polyurethane foam insulation products for the building construction industry.

KTL Trucking acquired and established operations at the Afton Township terminal formerly operated by Nestle’s fleet. KTL is headquartered in Carmel, Indiana and operates a terminal in Romeoville.

An unidentified development know only as Project Wildcat heads a strong prospect pipeline for 2023.

The development of a ChicagoWest Business Center site for the confidential food and beverage distributor was approved by the city of DeKalb in August. The project will feature an automated storage and retrieval system.

DeKalb County’s dramatic growth has produced a pipeline of development projects amounting to another $1 billion of investment in more than 2 million square feet of development, together with the pending development of 6,000 acres of solar energy farms.

This prolific development is greatly expanding the tax base and reducing tax rates.  To learn more about DeKalb County’s competitive advantages, tax incentives, sites and buildings,  please contact Paul Borek at 815-508-2427.


DeKalb County Marketing Manager, Katelyn Lancaster

Watch the video below to learn about Opportunity Unbound, DeKalb County’s branding and communication program.  Opportunity Unbound has many opportunities from which to serve, and support.  DCEDC is fortunate to have this important program led by Katelyn Lancaster, a native of DeKalb County, IL.  Please call Katelyn to learn how you can support this essential program.  (779) 212-2915.  Visit the Opportunity Unbound website here

To follow Opportunity Unbound on Social Media  Follow Opportunity Unbound Social Media here  

Watch the short video below to learn more about this important program.


U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, tours NIU Research Lab

Photo Credit: Mark Busch, Shaw Media

Pictured: U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, Dr. Lisa Freeman, President Northern Illinois University, NIU CEET Students

Underwood toured the semi-conductor lab Friday at the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology building in DeKalb. Underwood was visiting NIU to celebrate the university receiving$1.5 million in federal funding to upgrade its microchips manufacturing lab.

Click on the link to read the full article published by The Daily Chronicle City of DeKalb NIU US Rep Underwood visits NIU Research development lab


DCEDC’s Membership Campaign Kicks Off

Happy New Year!

As we kick-off 2023, we are pleased to share that 2022 was another remarkable year of economic growth for DeKalb County. Last year, 17 attraction and expansion projects yielding capital investment of $826,158,822 (2nd highest year in DCEDC’s 35-year history), and the development of 1,901,068 SF (3rd highest year, behind 2021/2020). Job creation since 2020 is more than 1100. We invite you to view Executive Director Paul Borek’s annual year in review report by clicking on the embedded link. 2023 Membership Campaign information here


Krusinski Construction Builds New Facility for Wehrli Custom Fabrication.  New Facility Marks Major Expansion of Wehrli’s Operations in DeKalb.


Wehrli Custom Fabrication officially opened its doors to a new 112,000-square-foot warehouse, manufacturing and office building in DeKalb, Illinois. Krusinski partnered with brothers and business owners Jason and Ryan Wehrli on the design-build construction project.

The facility marked an exclamation point for unprecedented growth and a dramatic business expansion story after the business was started from a two-truck garage a little more than ten years ago.

“Krusinski built a great team who worked together to achieve our ideas and goals for the project and brought it to life. Working with another family-owned company was powerful since we are the same.” – Jason Wehrli

The new precast facility sits on an 11-acre site, which provides the potential for future expansion by Wehrli, which specializes in high-performance diesel upgrades, powder coating and custom metal fabrication. The building features a two-story, 12,000-square-foot office area, with elevator-accessible space on the second floor for future expansion consideration.

Read more about the Wehrli Custom Fabrication Project by KCC



Project Wildcat (rendering shown above) will be built on the northside of Gurler Road in the ChicagoWest Business Center.


For the fourth time in fewer than three years, a major development that will create hundreds of jobs has been approved for the ChicagoWest Business Center (CWBC) in DeKalb.

The DeKalb City Council unanimously approved plans Aug. 8 for a distribution, packaging and storage facility known as Project Wildcat on 160 acres of property on the north side of Gurler Road between Crego Road and Peace Road.

The project will be built in several phases and Project Wildcat will total more than 2.1-million square feet, creating new community value that can be leveraged to expand services while lowering local property taxes.

An aggressive construction timeline has been set with site work beginning right after Labor Day, adding to the economic development activity happening in the CWBC.

“This project represents another very substantial contribution to the City’s property tax base and employment opportunities,” said City Manager Bill Nicklas “The ChicagoWest and Trammell Crow development team have once again collaboratively negotiated impactful terms which will positively serve the best interests of the DeKalb community for generations to come.”

Project Wildcat is the latest in a rapid series of project announcements in the CWBC, which was founded by the Krusinski Construction Company. Since the Fall of 2019, Ferrara Candy Company has opened 1.6 million square feet of distribution space, Amazon has nearly completed 700,000 square feet of distribution and sortation space, and Meta has deepened its commitment to DeKalb, expanding its data center to five buildings and over $1 billion in investment.

“ChicagoWest is proud to have put over a 1,000 acres into development since 2019 in the Chicago West Business Center,” said Jerry Krusinski, CEO of Krusinski Construction Company and one of the principals of the ChicagoWest Business Center.

These economic development successes involve multiple partners to create a business-friendly climate and include the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District, ComEd and Nicor, the State of Illinois for its support of critical infrastructure improvements, and the DeKalb County Enterprise Zone.

For Project Wildcat, the Phase 1 building core and shell is scheduled to be completed by the first quarter of 2024 with the building fully operational by early 2025.

See the latest Drone Video of the CWBC here

ChicagoWest Business Center website

US Senator Dick Durbin visits DeKalb

Daily Chronicle article US Senator Dick Durbin visits Meta’s DeKalb Data Center

23 WIFR TV Video of US Senator Dick Durbin and Mayor Cohen Barnes

Northern Public Radio article US Senator Dick Durbin’s visit to Meta’s DeKalb Data Center

Watch the video to see the vision of Opportunity Unbound

Curran Contracting Company Projects in DeKalb Co.



Project Barb-70 Acre Site in the ChicagoWest Business Center

DeKalb County Landfill Garbage Cell

Syngenta Ground Breaking


A ground-breaking ceremony was held Wednesday in Malta as Syngenta Seeds, LLC begins construction on its new Research and Development (R&D) Innovation Center. The 96,000-square-foot center, shown in this computer rendering, is expected to be completed by late summer 2022

Agriculture RD A priority for business group

New Syngenta facility aims to bring farmers, research together – AgriNews


The above-captioned photo was taken last week at the Ferrara Candy Company’s  Ribbon Cutting ceremony.   DCEO full Press Release here

Ferrara Candy Company Ribbon Cutting June 30, 2021

Ferrara Candy Company Ribbon Cutting Ceremony