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PLEASANT PRAIRIE, WI-The village has recently approved a number of agreements to gain financial incentives for the $100 million new Uline Inc. headquarters and distribution facility here. The project, which will consist of 218,000 sf of office space for the headquarters, and one million sf for a warehouse, is now under construction in the 267-acre PrairieWood Corporate Park. The company is moving from its current headquarters in Waukegan, IL, a few miles south of the border.

The village is providing more than $11 million in TIF money for site-related improvements for the project. In return, the company has agreed to not build any other distribution facility within 50 miles until the project here is complete. The village also helped secure a $1 million state Transportation Economic Assistance Grant, to finance a portion of the roadway improvements to the new headquarters. In return, the company has agreed to create at least employ at least 500 people at Uline’s new campus within three years, and keep them for at least four years. The village will have to pay the TEA grant back to the state if the number isn’t reached. “The agreements protect the village, we’re committing a lot for this project,” says Mike Pollocoff, village administrator. “We expect the company to employ close to 1,000 people, so we know that the 500 employee deal is safe.”

Construction for the distribution facility is expected to be complete by the end of next year, and will initially employ 200 people. The second phase of the project will include the office building and 800,000 sf of distribution, with project completion planned for 2015. “This will have a significant impact on our local and regional economy,” said Village president John Steinbrink Sr. in a statement.

The village already is a very popular destination for business, with large office and distribution parks mostly put together by CenterPoint and Milwaukee-based Wispark Inc., the creator of PrairieWood park. The village is attractive because of its location about halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee, its closeness to Interstate 94, good access to utilities, and strong financial incentives and low taxes offered by the community. The village is just north of the Illinois border, and typically has lower property taxes than Lake County in northeast Illinois. “People have realized it’s faster to drive up here from the north Chicago area than to drive into the city,” Pollocoff says. Uline also has a local connection; CEO Dick Uihlein has family and owns a restaurant in southeast Wisconsin.

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