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Gov. Pritzker Announces $40 Million Grant Opportunity to Develop Megasites

Press Release - Monday, February 06, 2023

CHICAGO — Governor Pritzker today joined state and local leaders, along with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI), and Intersect Illinois in Pullman to announce $40 million in Rebuild Illinois Capital Funds to supercharge the development of megasites - large, developed sites ready for occupancy for manufacturers, distribution centers, industrial centers, and more. The competitive grant opportunity is open to governments, private businesses, or non-profits to support site development in order to attract large-scale industrial investments in 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," said Governor JB Pritzker. "The new Megasites Investment Program grants will help communities innovate their own business attraction efforts and will spur economic development in communities across our great state."

With sectors like clean energy and manufacturing rapidly expanding in the U.S., major job creators are looking for large, investment-ready sites to locate their growing businesses. By providing grants that enable entities to create investment ready sites, Illinois is increasing its competitiveness for large-scale investment.

The Megasites Investment Program funding will be issued through a competitive Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) and is open to private entities, non-profits, or local governments. Grants will range from $250,000 to $5 million, with the grant award amount determined by acreage (up to $5,000 per acre). Eligible sites must contain at least 200 contiguous acres and applicants must own or have an agreement in place to acquire the property at the time of the application. The NOFO opportunity also requires 1:1 capital investment match.

Underserved areas and areas located in Opportunity Zones are prioritized through the application process, which allows for the developed sites to market additional incentives to potential business prospects.

Funding can be used on a variety of site development expenses, including infrastructure expenses such as roads, electricity, water, broadband and other utilities; site development expenses like grading and drainage, rehabbing existing structures, remediation and cleanup; and land acquisition and related expenses. A link to the application - including information on an informational webinar on February 21 - can be found here. Applications will be accepted through April 6, 2023.

Illinois is a national leader in manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution - serving as home to three of the top ten industrial sites in the country, with the largest industrial park in America located in Elk Grove Village (2022 Business Facilities Rankings). As Illinois invests in areas in need of revitalization and further grows its economy, new megasites will serve as a major draw for job creators.

"Megasites are a major draw for companies looking to locate or expand in Illinois and given our superior infrastructure and workforce there's boundless investment opportunities throughout the state," said DCEO Acting Director Kristin A. Richards. "Megasites are akin to a turn-key house: move-in ready with zero hassle - which is exactly what fast-growing businesses are looking for."

Site selection is a critical component of Illinois' business attraction efforts. Intersect provides hands-on support for companies looking for locations in Illinois, and has a variety of online resources, including a property finder featuring more than 150 investment-ready sites in Illinois as well as a standalone guide featuring megasites above 1,000 acres - designed for large job creators.

One of the goals of the Megasites Program is to attract jobs creators and revitalization for areas that are underutilized, such as former industrial sites, brownfields, and agricultural sites. Whether it's an industrial park featuring various businesses, or a large facility dedicated to manufacturing soup to nuts, megasites are designed to spur development and create jobs in Illinois' communities.

"We talk about the rising tide lifting all boats, and the work we are doing to put Illinois on the right financial path is allowing local communities to thrive economically because of those efforts," said State Senator Elgie Sims (D-Chicago). "Economic development is the key to success — and this is yet another step toward continuing our state's robust economic recovery."

"When I became alderman in 1999, the community had a vision and hopes but no way to realize them," said Alderman Anthony Beale. "That first grant from the State in 2010 made all the difference. It takes a partnership to achieve the turnaround that we've seen in the 9th ward - And looking to the future Illinois communities could ask for no better partner than Governor Pritzker. It's great to see a new funding opportunity designed to revitalize communities."

CNI Corp's Pullman Park development is one example of a powerful community transformation, serving as home to the Method Soap Manufacturing facility, Amazon and Whole Foods Distribution Centers, Gotham Greens and more. The former shuttered factory site was developed in order to attract more than $700 million investment and creating more than 2,000 jobs.

"CNI's Pullman Park Development went from a 180-acre brownfield to a new, green manufacturing and distribution hub," said CNI Corp. President David Doig. "This area is now a model for economic development - creating more than 2,000 jobs - and it all began with a $10 million grant from the State."

"As companies act on needs to ramp up large-scale production quickly, the availability of sites that can handle their requirements - from electricity, to water, to rail access - is critical to winning deals," said Intersect Illinois CEO Dan Seals. "We're fortunate to have many quality sites in Illinois and are working to make sure they are ready for companies to set up rapidly."

Over the past several years, Illinois has launched new business attraction incentives while making improvements to its existing suite. Recent programs and improvements to business attraction include:

  • Reimagining Energy and Vehicles (REV Illinois)
    • Provides up to 100 percent income tax withholding for new jobs created and other benefits for manufacturers of Electric Vehicles, component parts, and related clean energy manufacturers.
  • Manufacturing Illinois Chips for Real Opportunity (MICRO)
    • Provides up to 100 percent income tax withholding for new jobs created for manufacturers of microchips and semiconductors and associated component parts.
  • Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE):
    • With more than $1 billion in investment from companies receiving EDGE credits in 2022, EDGE is Illinois' premier incentive program. EDGE provides competitive tax incentives to businesses in all industries locating or expanding in Illinois.
  • Enterprise Zones (EZs):
    • Designated zones designed to stimulate economic growth and neighborhood revitalization in economically depressed areas of the state through state and local tax incentives, regulatory relief, and governmental services.
  • High Impact Businesses (HIB):
    • Supports large-scale economic development activities by providing tax incentives to companies that make substantial capital investments in operations and create or retain a large number of jobs.

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