Illinois: Industrial Powerhouse in America’s Heartland

The Land of Lincoln boasts a $590-billion economy, the fifth-largest in the nation, and a talented workforce that numbers more than six million.

Situated at the geographic center of the nation, the state of Illinois also is a crossroads for a wide range of business sectors, including manufacturing, finance, agriculture, technology, and warehousing and distribution.

With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and western Illinois, and natural resources like coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a broad economic base. The state’s excellent transportation infrastructure makes it a natural and cost-effective location for any business. Not only does it offer one of the best interstate highway networks in the country, but it is also at the center of the national rail network, is home to O’Hare International Airport, the world’s second busiest airport, as well as major commuter hubs both at Midway Airport and throughout downstate Illinois.

Illinois is home to a dozen port districts, some located in Foreign Trade Zones, which provide low-cost production and warehousing facilities for imported and export-bound products. The Port of Chicago connects the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River via the Illinois River.

Along with a $590 billion economy—the nation’s fifth largest—Illinois boasts a six-million-strong workforce and is home to 33 Fortune 500 companies and the world’s largest futures and options exchange, CME Group Inc. Nearly half of the more than 6 million workers in Illinois are professionals, skilled technicians, craftspeople, or machine operators. More than 50 percent of the state’s workforce has gained education beyond high school. In addition, Illinois worker productivity exceeds the U.S. average by $0.35 per hour.

With more than 200 academic, government, and non-profit research institutions and a breadth of rich offerings in medical, agricultural, industrial biotechnology, nanotechnology, and information technology, Illinois is well known as one of the nation’s high technology leaders. Tech companies located in the state include Orbitz, Yahoo!, Navteq, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Intel, THQ, Lucent, and Tellabs.

The state’s world-class research and education institutions, including the University of Illinois, Northwestern University, and the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, conduct research across a broad range of fields and are on the forefront of the technological frontier. They provide resources to support every state and area of innovative technology development, from basic research start-ups to large corporations. Incubators and research parks are located throughout Illinois in an effort to provide facilities for research and development. These technology parks provide employment for thousands of professionals while generating millions of dollars in research funding. To help spur future development in the state, the Illinois Department of Transportation recently unveiled an $11.25-billion multi-year highway improvement program beginning in 2010. If your business is looking to locate in a forward-looking economy with access to one of the largest markets in the U.S., the following Illinois locations would be a perfect fit.


Wheeling: Heart of Chicagoland

Located in Chicago’s prestigious north suburban market, Wheeling, IL continues to enhance its standing as one of the region’s hottest business centers. Wheeling is in the heart of the Chicago area, a region companies value for its central location to markets across the nation. Within 19 miles northwest of downtown Chicago and nine miles north of O’Hare International Airport, Wheeling’s position in the region makes it a natural location for business owners. Wheeling has successfully leveraged its transportation amenities to become a magnet for corporate, hospitality, and manufacturing industries. With two interchanges and direct access to I-294 (Tri-State Tollway) and Illinois Route 53, Wheeling businesses enjoy easy roadway access to and from destinations throughout the Midwest. Rail service in the community provides freight service to its business parks, and commuter service to the Wheeling Metra train station, offering convenient transit options for the region’s workforce.

In addition, Wheeling is co-owner of neighboring Chicago Executive Airport, which handles nearly 200,000 private and corporate flights each year. The airport offers a flight training school and an additional transportation option for executives in the region. Wheeling is an entertainment destination for diners and shoppers in the area. Home to the renowned ‘Restaurant Row’ along the Milwaukee Avenue corridor, Wheeling offers dozens of opportunities for unique, upscale dining. New entertainment businesses plan to join the restaurant community in this lively district next year.

Community educational institutions include National Louis University, Harper College, and Solex College, which complement the acclaimed educational opportunities the Chicagoland area is known for. Nursing and technical academies will open new facilities in the community in 2010.

Wheeling is home to 40,000 residents and has been honored by Family Circle magazine, which named Wheeling “One of the Top Places in the U.S. to Raise a Family.” Wheeling received this honor due to its globally diverse population, award-winning educational system, and numerous parks and recreation opportunities that provide an outstanding quality of life for families and businesses alike. Wheeling also was awarded an Illinois Governor’s Home Town Award in 2008 in recognition of the active volunteer spirit in the community. The local government administration is aggressively encouraging the development of new retail and industrial businesses and has implemented a number of incentive and financing programs to encourage its continued growth.

The Village’s Economic Development Department regularly monitors local real estate conditions and maintains an updated list of available buildings and land development opportunities. The Village encourages inquiries about site availability and has professional staff at hand to assist your company in finding a home for your business in Wheeling. See


Elk Grove Village: Open for Business

Elk Grove Village is located adjacent to Chicago’s northwest city limits (O’Hare International Airport), 22 miles from Chicago’s Loop. This strategic location has done much to attract the nearly 3,800 companies that have established themselves during the past 53 years. These companies represent every major trading partner involved with the U.S. international trade, which truly represent a cross section of U.S. industry and commerce.

The diversity of these companies’ activities has ensured economic stability and continual growth. During the past twenty years, roughly 100 companies have opened in Elk Grove, which ranks as the second highest with the number of manufacturing firms and third with the value of production in Illinois.

When Elk Grove was established in 1956, it was designed as a planned community. The goal was to have industry and residential growth work together in a partnership. At the time there was a need to maintain an exceptional standard of living and job security for residents. This is still something that Elk Grove Village strives for today.

It also was decided that fire, police and medical services should grow together with the expanding population, both industrial and residential. Today Elk Grove is ranked with a Class 2 fire rating, second only to the City of Chicago. In addition, police service permits lower insurance rates than any of the other surrounding communities.

The continued success of the Business Park is dependent on the Village’s ability to meet the changing needs of the business community.

The consultant team of Land Vision, Inc., Civil Tech Engineering, Economic Research Associates, Rocky Mountain Institute and Gary Weber Associates, Inc. is working with the Industrial Commercial/Revitalization Commission to update the 1998 ICRC Master Plan.

This team has examined land use and urban design, infrastructure improvements, and financing options. The group is helping the Village to develop a Comprehensive Master Plan Update and is establishing a framework for the continuation of the Industrial Revitalization program for the next 10 years.

The study attempts to prepare for the future needs of the Business Park. This will help build a guideline for future project recommendations. Guidelines and standards also will be set for the redevelopment of properties including major building renovations and demolitions. Future transportation needs will also be analyzed to help prioritize future projects within the Village.

When considering Elk Grove Village as your new business location, you’ll find that exceptional is the rule from the town’s strategic location and expansive industrial base to its friendly hometown spirit and enviable quality of life. To explore all the outstanding business benefits that make Elk Grove the exceptional community, visit or call the economic development coordinator at 847-439-3900.


The Illinois Valley Area: Crossroads of Your Future

The Illinois Valley Area, located at the crossroads of the nation, is comprised of 23 communities located approximately 90 miles southwest of Chicago along the Illinois River in North Central Illinois.

Interstate 80, which provides coast to coast access, intersects with Interstate 39, the connecting link of the interstate highway from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, in the Illinois Valley Area. This provides easy access to most markets for the logistics and manufacturing segment of business. The Illinois River affords the business community the opportunity for year-round shipments by barge, and the Illinois Valley Regional Airport, with a 6,000-foot runway, will accommodate any business jet.

The Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development has an extensive database of available sites—totaling more than 5,700 acres, some of which are rail served, and barge service is available to local industry. Most sites have interstate access within a mile and many are located in enterprise zones and TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Districts.

With a strong agricultural and cultural history, the area offers an abundant skilled workforce with a good work ethic. Firms that have located new facilities in the Illinois Valley Area are well pleased with the quality of the workforce and many have expanded their original buildings. The Illinois Valley Community College (IVCC) offers excellent courses in high-tech programs and stands ready to tailormake training courses, with training conducted either on-site or on-campus, to fit the needs of area business and industry. As an example, a truck driver certification program was developed to fill a local need and is an overwhelming success. The area is situated within a little more than an hours drive from five four-year universities for those desiring advanced education.

The Illinois Valley Area is optimally suited as a location for logistics, manufacturing and administrative operations. Several international companies and many domestic firms have located in the area and have been welcomed with open arms. These include both large warehouse/distribution centers and many trucking facilities, along with a number of manufacturing firms, both international and domestic.

With competitive utility rates available, Illinois Valley offers a great place to live and conduct business. It offers the advantages of ample, reasonably priced, available land; lower cost of doing business; lower crime rates; small town living; and great recreational opportunities. The Illinois River provides recreational boating and fishing and the scenic Matthiessen and Starved Rock State Parks provide beautiful canyons, waterfalls and opportunities for hiking in the summer and cross country skiing in the winter.

The location, with close proximity to the Chicago metropolitan area, provides easy access to the many cultural and sporting events in the city, while at the same time the local quality of life offers the comfort and safety of a smaller community. To find out more about the advantages of locating your business in the Illinois Valley Area call 815-223-0227 or visit


Decatur, IL: Home to a Rail-Served Logistics Hub

The EDC of Decatur & Macon County, IL, has great expectations for a large new rail-served logistics location being redeveloped in the region—the former Wagner Castings/Intermet foundry site in Decatur.

The 32-acre Intermet foundry site, which is located along a major logistics corridor adjacent to the Norfolk Southern Railroad and only moments from I-72, has remained vacant since 2005. An environmental clean-up of the property, estimated at $2 million, is now underway. A Class A logistics, rail-served distribution facility is planned for the site, allowing for construction of 360,000 square feet of warehouse distribution space along with 20+ acres of trailer and container storage company with national interests has the faith in the Decatur market to commit considerable financial resources to redevelop the site to meet the needs of today’s logistics and manufacturing clients, giving the marketable piece of property to present to prospects from across the country and the world.

The purchasing entity is experienced in the redevelopment of obsolescent and contaminated sites. Its recent revitalization projects have included the former Stanley Flagg/Amcast site in Stowe, PA; the former Amtrak rail site in Queens, NY; and the Krejci dump site—part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park—in Hudson, OH.

Decatur boasts outstanding business-oriented educational resources through Millikin University’s Tabor School of Business and Richland Community College’s manufacturing center and business curriculum. Within a one hour drive of Decatur you will find the Schools of Medicine for both the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University, providing the latest in health care technology and research. Also in close proximity are renowned educational institutions like the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois State University, Bradley University, Eastern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Springfield.

In today’s global economy, businesses require integrated transportation systems that meet their regional, national and international distribution needs. Decatur is uniquely positioned and ready to meet these needs through its world class transportation system which includes a Foreign Trade Zone, U.S. Customs Point of Entry, Norfolk Southern, CSX and Canadian National Railroads, a world class airport facility capable of handling aircraft of all sizes, proximity to three major Interstates and a centralized location situated between Chicago and Memphis, Indianapolis and Kansas City. With nearly $600 million in capital investment planned or underway in the region, it is easy to see why more and more businesses are looking to Decatur for logistics, distribution and manufacturing projects.

Combine this with a venture capital fund dedicated to businesses who locate in Decatur and Macon County, aggressive local and state economic development incentives, infrastructure, and optimal location, you have all of the ingredients for success.

It is easy to see why more and more businesses See Decatur in a Whole New Light!