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Huntley supports incentives, annexation for Weber Grills expansion

Village wants to help grill maker’s expansion

Published: Thursday, May 1, 2014 9:53 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, May 2, 2014 6:48 a.m. CDT

HUNTLEY – The village wants to use property tax breaks and fee waivers to help the maker of Weber Grills expand its Huntley operation and invest millions in construction that would help create nearly 500 jobs.

Working through a crowded agenda Thursday, Huntley board members strongly supported the incentive package village officials negotiated with Weber and welcomed the annexation plan, allowing the company to build an international distribution hub along Interstate 90, west of the Huntley Outlet Mall.

“It’s been commonplace, whether it’s stores being opened or business being created, for the village to waive annexation fees or credit capital development fees for public improvements,” Village Manager Dave Johnson said. “The property tax [cut] is relatively minor when looking at the scope of the project and the number of jobs created.”

The incentives Huntley used to finalize the Weber expansion primarily included fee waivers, totaling $470,500.

Huntley also will shave about $35,000 a year in property taxes for the next five years on Weber’s distribution center, if the company meets job retention and creation requirements. The tax breaks total $175,000.

The village would forgo $393,000 in capital development fees it would have collected to widen Freeman Road, north of Weber’s center. The village also will sponsor a $518,494 state transportation grant to help Weber cover the road work costs.

Weber won’t have to pay $65,500 in annexation fees and $12,000 to connect to the village’s water and sewer lines. The board next week will officially approve the incentives and annexation deal.

During the meeting, Huntley trustees praised Weber representatives in the same manner they did a month ago, when Weber revealed its expansion plan.

“It’s unbelievable,” trustee J.R. Westberg said. “Thank you for bringing these jobs in an economy where folks are struggling to find employment.”

Started in Chicago, the popular grill maker, which sells products in more than 72 countries, announced it would build the distribution center and devote its existing factory behind the Jewel-Osco in Huntley to manufacturing.

The expansion would support 800 total manufacturing and distribution positions once construction is complete. Village officials estimated that Weber will pour tens of millions into construction and equipment during the next several years.

Victor Narusis and others at Huntley’s economic development department have touted the ripple effect Weber’s investment means for Huntley. Village officials expect the expansion to increase demand for more shops, houses and restaurants capable of adding 300 jobs.

The distribution center alone is estimated to create $70,000 a year in property tax revenue for the village and more than $1 million a year for other taxing bodies, primarily Carpentersville-based District 300.

“This global distribution center will allow us to maintain and cement our presence in the village,” said Philip Zadeik, general counsel and board of managers secretary for Weber. “We are growing tremendously, and we want Huntley to be a part of that growth.”

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