The City of Edwardsville received $30,935,343 in new business/commercial permits for the first 8 months of 2019. This compares to $17,307,150 in new business/commercial permits from new development and companies entering the Edwardsville market for the first time.
These numbers are not usual, said, Walter Williams-Economic Development Director. “Existing business growth should account for 60 to 80% of new job growth and new investment. Edwardsville provides an ideal location for business growth with our skilled workforce, robust transportation routes, and a stable community. Supporting business growth and development is a core economic development function that helps to diversify and strengthen our local economy.”
Arguably the biggest existing business growth belongs to Hershey. Hershey added nearly 300,000 square feet onto the existing warehouse distribution facility in Edwardsville. The 292,410-square-foot expansion increases the existing plant’s size from an original 1.1 million square feet to nearly 1.3 million square feet. The cost of this project is valued at $4,535,765.
Stillwater Senior Living is expanding from 46 living units and 40 employees to 80 units and add 32,000-square-feet by winter 2020. This addition will be built behind the current building. The new addition will cost $5 million and add at least 20 new employees.
Donco will pump $2,155,000 into the local economy by building on an addition to its existing facility. Once completed Donco will hire an additional 50 employees.
Amazon is spending $1,900,000 in the Lakeview Commerce Center location retrofitting this facility to handle large item distribution (pianos, televisions).
Target is leading the way in sustainable operations and recognizes that meeting their energy needs through solar is good for the community and environment. The Edwardsville Target is spending $705,224 in solar panel to reduce their energy costs It is anticipated that their rooftop solar project will generate enough energy to offset between 15 and 40 percent of a property’s energy needs.
Smaller, locally owned businesses like McDonald’s, Kettle River, Cassens, Joe Pizza, Culvers also made sizeable investments into their current business operations.
We recognize that business is at the heart of our success as a city. That’s why throughout the various city departments, we make every effort to make doing business in Edwardsville as attractive and trouble-free as possible. These new investments from existing businesses bode well for the future of the city’s employment opportunities and its continuing economic strength. The proof is in our success, said Hal Patton-Mayor City of Edwardsville.
Redevelopment within the Montclaire Business District was approved with a 5-2 vote at last week’s Edwardsville City Council meeting.
Aldermen Barb Stamer, Tom Butts, Art Risavy, Jeanette Mallon and Will Krause were in favor of the motion; aldermen Craig Louer and Janet Stack were opposed.
The approved resolution authorizes an agreement for the city to encourage redevelopment and renovations in the district, anticipating a cost of $2.2 million. The improvements will include new facades on buildings, rotomill and resurfacing of the parking lot, retaining wall by the Rapid Lube building, rear screening, landscaping, lighting upgrades and storm water drainage improvements.
The developer, Jones Edwardsville Properties, has requested reimbursement from the city in the amount of $1,393,566 after the improvements have been made.
As discussion ensued, Louer said he was opposed to the resolution, as he was concerned about surrounding neighbors and taxpayers.
“If we were to do it, which I hope we don’t, I’d like to see a commitment to all parts of that project. With regard to the estimated costs…what we’re doing is taxing the people to shop there; we’re taxing our citizens to make improvements to private property. In some instances, I think I can justify it in my mind and those instances are instances where we’re asking a developer to go over and above what he would normally have to do in order to provide some extra protection or some amenities for our neighbors — one of those is a wall,” Louer said. “When you get to the façade for buildings, I look at those as investments that an owner should make on his own property. I want higher rent for a house I own, I clean it up and I get higher rent for it…I think it’s inappropriate for us to tax citizens to support the improvements on private property. I think that’s the owner’s responsibility.”
The city has no direct financial obligation with the developer and the costs that will be reimbursed must be eligible through the collection of business district taxes. Taxpayers who shop at the facility will also face a 1 percent Business District Tax.
“I can’t support it,” Louer said. “This is $1.3 million that we are going to tax our citizens and we are going to use approximately $600,000 of to improve private property. As I’ve said before, I’d be willing to vote for this if we limited the cost to the things that I think we’re asking for over and above.”
Butts was in favor of the motion and said he believes this is the best way to get the needed improvements completed.
“I think this is our best hope to get that blighted area. To the question of would we allow it for somebody else who wanted to come in and form a business district? I think we’d give it the same consideration we gave this – absolutely. We did it for Dierbergs,” Butts said. “This does not cost the city anything; it does cost our taxpayers who shop there an additional 1 percent. We had the same thing at Dierbergs. Dierbergs has been a huge success. If we can increase more sales, that’s more sales tax that the city gets as well.”
The additional Business District Tax, according to Butts, will not have a significant impact on the taxpayers who utilize the district.
“All the risk is on the developer. If he doesn’t have sales, if he doesn’t have tenants, if he doesn’t have people going to the cash register, he does not get his money back. I think it is not corporate welfare; I do not think we are putting a burden on our citizens. If they don’t want to shop there, they don’t have to shop there,” he said.
Discussion came to a close and the resolution passed.
For more information about the Montclaire Business District, visit the city’s website at cityofedwardsville.com.
EDWARDSVILLE – Dr. Timothy S. Sullivan, Ph.D, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Business, said the economic forecast for the area is dependent on several factors, but he sees a bright future ahead this year and in coming years.
Sullivan was a key presenter at the annual Edwardsville Breakfast this past week at Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville.
He showed some various slides that showed growth of about 3.5 percent of the national economy over the last 10-15 years. That growth has slowed in recent years and since 2000 grown at an average rate of about 1.8 percent.
Sullivan’s prediction is for likely more of the same this year nationally and throughout the Madison County region, but he said that is dependent on several factors, including an Illinois State budget or not and what happens in Washington, D.C., in coming months with trade and many other changing factors. Sullivan pointed out an interesting factor that there have been 11 recessions since World War II, something that might take some by surprise.
Since 2000, Madison County and Illinois in general have grown at an average rate of 0.8 percent, he said. The St. Louis Metropolitan area has grown at 0.7 percent and the U.S. economy as stated before has grown at 1.8 percent.
The 2017 forecast by Sullivan is 2.3 percent national growth, 1.3 percent in Illinois, 1.0 in the St. Louis metropolitan area and 1.5 percent in Madison County. The Wall Street Journal predicts 2.4 percent growth, so Sullivan’s predictions mirror others nationally.
Since 2000 the workforce nationally has declined about 3 percent for men and women, he said, translating into several million lost jobs.
Sullivan told the audience that going forward, he expects businesses to find workers in a different way, not as much through conventional newspaper classified listings but postings on the Web and social media, along with contact with community organizations, placement agencies and even churches.
He stressed this is a changing time in the American workforce and employers must adapt with it to obtain the best possible workers.
EDWARDSVILLE – Spirits were high Tuesday morning at the Edwardsville 2017 Business Forecast Breakfast at Wildey Theatre, reflecting on a sensational year in 2016 and a strong outlook ahead for this year.
Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton started the meeting off on positive note about how 2016 was an incredible year for the city of Edwardsville and the area. Patton was followed by Madison County Chairman Kurt Prenzler and Cathy Hamilton of BARBERMurphy Group, the moderator.
Madison County Community Development Director Kristen Poshard provided insight to the 2017 prospects. Dr. Timothy Sullivan of SIUE then gave national and local economic outlook, Mike Hurley, of Balke Brown Transwestern did a presentation on the market analysis for Class A Office Space Outlook in Edwardsville. A Realtors’ Roundtable followed with questions and answers was positioned at the end of the breakfast.
Edwardsville Economic/Community Development Director Walt Williams organized the Business Forecast and was commended by Mayor Patton and the others for those efforts.
“We had a record year of job creation and investment in Downtown Edwardsville,” Patton said reflecting on 2016. “Business is trending up and we made a lot of progress with infrastructure improvements.”
Patton discussed the two spec buildings that were created in the Gateway Commerce Center, one housing the new Amazon distribution business. The mayor also mentioned First to the Finish and Prairie Farms locating headquarters in Edwardsville. He then explained other large projects – the new SIUE Fire Station construction, the new Public Safety Building on Main Street in Edwardsville and Madison County Mutual Insurance Company occupying two floors of the new Park Plaza in Downtown Edwardsville.
Patton said the various construction projects created thousands of jobs and over 1,300 permanent jobs, valued at $154 million to Edwardsville.
Poshard said the Gateway Commerce Center area is one of the hottest places to do business throughout the entire region and country. She said creating the logistics enterprise zone has generated a new tax base with transportation jobs and the future looks bright there and throughout Madison County with a changing workforce.
Patton’s final words summed up his prime mission since becoming mayor: “Edwardsville is a place where you can live, work and play” his emphasis during his administration.
J.K. Electric was named the Business of the Year honor at the annual breakfast.
Stories on J.K. Electric, and presentations by Sullivan and Hurley to come.
Dr. John Navin
Many of us have driven I-270 west heading into north St. Louis County and noticed the large group of warehouses on our right. This area known as Gateway Commerce and Lakeview Commerce Centers hold two of the largest warehousing districts in the Metro East. The commerce centers’ history and rise coincides with the creation of an enterprise zone in Edwardsville and Madison County. The enterprise zone was created in September 1997 and has been very successful in drawing businesses, their associated spending, and new employment to our area.
What is an enterprise zone? Enterprise zones are specially created areas designated by the State of Illinois that qualify for special development incentives, such as investment tax credits, property tax abatements, and some sales tax exemptions. Enterprise zones are not Tax Increment Financing Districts (TIFS). Unlike TIFS, the enterprise zone provides property tax revenue to local taxing districts, and the amount of property tax revenue will grow over time due to the increase in the value of the improvements and the phasing out of the property tax abatements. In fact, the commerce centers provided the Edwardsville School District with over $525,000 in property tax revenue last year and will provide almost $700,000 this year.
How have the enterprise zones worked out for our local economy? Since 1997 over thirty firms have chosen to locate in Gateway and Lakeview Commerce Centers. These firms have been associated with hiring over 5,000 new employees. Both centers continue to grow – there are new buildings being constructed now with more in the planning stages. The creation of these buildings and the availability of a highly educated and well-trained workforce are helping to make this area a hub for logistics-related companies. The recent announcement that Amazon will be building/occupying two facilities and employing nearly 1,000 people speaks to the attractiveness of these centers. These developments bode well for Edwardsville, Madison County, and the surrounding area’s future economic development. According to a recent study commissioned by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments and the Missouri and Illinois Departments of Transportation, this region can expect tremendous growth in logistics over the next twenty years. Projects like the commerce centers position us well to take advantage of this growth and will provide the region with increased employment, taxes to support our schools, as well as increased demand for local goods and services.