Pritzker putting $40M into industrial development

Grants to fund “megasite” construction

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Construction
Gov. J.B. Pritzker (Getty)

The governor on Monday announced the creation of the Rebuild Illinois Capital Funds grant program, which is intended to spur construction on sites spanning hundreds of acres that could attract tenants in the manufacturing, distribution center or other industrial fields. Businesses, nonprofits and governments may apply for the grants, which aim to attract large investment to underutilized areas and former industrial sites.

“Major job creators are consistently looking for investment-ready sites they can get up-and-running in a short amount of time – and Illinois is home to some of the largest such sites in the country, all ripe for fresh development,” Pritzker said in a statement.

The program could inject more supply and draw more tenants into the Chicago area’s industrial market, which has seen solid leasing activity but is running out of space. Overall vacancy fell to 4.6 percent at the end of 2022 compared with 5.5 percent at the end of 2021, according to a fourth-quarter report from Savills.

Developers had more than 38 million square feet of industrial buildings under construction in the fourth quarter, according to the report, though construction starts are expected to decline this year given builders’ concerns about sustained demand, market volatility and the impact of inflation on the cost of capital, the Savills report said.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

The grant program will help communities formulate their own ways to attract businesses, as well as provide places to locate for businesses in expanding sectors, such as clean energy and manufacturing. The goal is to make Illinois more competitive in luring development dollars.

Grant amounts will range from $250,000 to $5 million, with award amounts determined by acreage. To be eligible, a site must contain 200 acres or more and applicants must own the property or have an agreement in place to acquire it. The grant also requires a one-to-one capital investment match.

The grant application is available on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website, as is information on an webinar about the new grant program scheduled for Feb. 21. Applications will be accepted through April 6.

Read more