Nucor Steel expansion (copy)

While Nucor Steel is in the midst of a $180 million expansion of its manufacturing operations, another $40 million has been earmarked for additional upgrades to its Bourbonnais plant.

Now that the turkey is digested and many folks have an extended weekend, I thought this might be a good time to look back at some of the economic developments which have taken place this year and give some thanks.

Residents of Kankakee County can be some of the harshest critics, and while that can often be difficult to deal with, it does have its place as well.

Area residents want the region to thrive, and they are willing to call out those they believe are not allowing that to happen.

But while there are many issues here which must be addressed for this region to grow economically, they are things taking place which are moving us in that direction.

I will present a handful of those developments, which have taken place or have been announced this year in an effort to illustrate. It took me less than five minutes to come up with this list:

1. Van Drunen Farms’ purchase of a cold storage complex in Manteno for $6.5 million to expand its growing Momence-based food company.

2. Kankakee finally moving to market and beautify the area around the Interstate 57 East Court Street interchange. It’s long, long overdue.

3. Bradley Village Board purchasing the former Carson’s men store at Northfield Square mall for $1.1 million.

4. Bourbonnais announces plans for a new administrative center. The village board hired the Lakota Group to develop plans for the municipal campus. Development of the campus plans is not due until spring 2020.

5. Nucor Steel invests another $40 million into its Bourbonnais plant. The company already was involved in its $180 million expansion.

6. Tractor Supply Co. opens nearly 20,000-square-foot store this fall in Kankakee near Walmart at I-57’s 308 interchange.

7. CSL Behring finally gets its long-awaited Illinois Department of Transportation approval for a new plant entrance along Illinois Route 50, helping aid its multi-billion-dollar expansion.

8. River Valley Metro Mass Transit district finally gets its new fleet of buses. At a cost of about $6 million, the new buses replaced a fleet which dated back to 2008.

9. Riverside Healthcare brings $20 million of new technology to its Heart & Vascular Institute.

10. Splash Valley water park begins $2 million rehab to the shuttered facility and plans are to reopen the south Kankakee location in May 2020.

As a community, we often times focus on what’s wrong rather than what’s right. We need reminders to show the region is making significant steps.

• • •

A Chicagoland investor has purchased the seven-building, 52-unit former Eastgate Village apartment complex on the east side of Kankakee.

The real estate company, Clear Capital LLC, has paid $900,000 for the apartments at Cooper Drive and Tedmark Court in the Hillcrest subdivision.

The 7th Ward complex has one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

It’s an area of the city that has seen little development in the past several years, but that could be changing as the city is proposing a Tax Increment Financing district the area in the hopes of boosting economic development.

According to a social media post, Clear Capital partner David Garrigus said the company has been targeting Kankakee as an area where they could not only generate a return on an investment but also make a difference in the community.

“We hope this is not our last investment in Kankakee,” he said while visiting the property. “Our objective is to find other properties to make investments in. We’re open to other projects.”

One of the strategies Clear Capital employs is to target neglected and vacant properties. Garrigus and his business partner, Josh Tobey, currently have properties in Lake County, Ill.; Kenosha, Wis.; and Pekin.

Rehab work on the Kankakee property already has started. The goal is to have the work completed by late spring.

The properties were previously owned by Ira and Jacquelyn Sneed. They purchased the property in March 2015.

Garrigus said his goal is to keep the properties long term and that he has contracted with Turco Real Estate & Property Management Inc., of Manteno, to manage the apartments.

The Daily Journal’s Lee Provost writes about local business rumors, comings and goings and other notes of interest. Anyone with information to share should contact Provost at lprovost@daily-journal.com or 815-937-3364. A version of this story appeared in the Friday digital edition of the Daily Journal.

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