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December 18, 2012

Tax Break Could

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Officials are hoping to keep one of the world’s largest recycling companies in Plainfield by offering a tax abatement on a planned $5.7 million expansion project.

Planner Michael Garrigan said a local business, Vintage Tech Recylers — which got its start in Plainfield — is partnering with Finnish recycling company Kuusakoski to convert the former Fox Valley Press building into a state-of-the-art electronics recycling plant.

The international company has plans to purchase the building, which has been vacant for more than three years, and spend $5,750,800 to convert the former newspaper printing facility into its new North American headquarters, Garrigan said.

The land purchase and improvements represent an estimated $12.2 million investment in Plainfield.

The 160,000-square-foot facility, located at 135th Street and Route 30, could create an estimated 84 new jobs over the five-year abatement, according to officials.

But Plainfield has some competition.

La Porte, Indiana, has put together an “aggressive package” to try to lure the facility away from Plainfield, according to Village Administrator Brian Murphy.

“The project still depends on the State of Illinois,” Murphy said, explaining the company is working to secure various grants and credits. But, he noted, “The U.S. owners would like to stay here if at all possible.”

On Monday, trustees unanimously approved a five-year, 50 percent tax abatement on the expansion project, which would allow Kuusakoski and its local partner, Vintage Tech, to move into the facility, once home to the Herald-News staff.

Even with the abatement, which would total $452,612 over five years, village officials said the expanded facility would bring increased tax revenue to Plainfield.

Garrigan said in its current condition, the building’s tax bill would amount to about $100,000, and the village’s share of that would amount to about $6,000, or 6 percent.

After the expansion, even with the abatement, the tax bill would increase to about $183,000, he said. Over five years, that would net more than $40,000 in new property taxes for the village, Garrigan noted.

Currently, Kuusakoski is operating out of the former Ball Glass factory at Route 59 and 143rd Street. The company’s proposal would move its existing 50 local employees to the new site, along with an estimated 25 new jobs in the first two years. Additional jobs could potentially be created over the entire five-year abatement, according to the village.

Trustees greeted the proposed project with enthusiasm — particularly the anticipated new jobs.

“I’m really excited about that,” trustee Garrett Peck said.

“I think it’s a great use of the building,” trustee Margie Bonuchi added.

Mayor Mike Collins called the proposal a wonderful opportunity for Plainfield, pointing out Vintage Tech provides an especially vital service now that landfills no longer accept electronics. The company offers free electronics recycling pickup throughout Will County.

“This is a wonderful company for the Village of Plainfield,” he said.

Garrigan said village staff has worked with District 202 and Will County officials to put together an abatement package.

Plainfield schools on board with tax deal

The Plainfield School District 202 school board on Monday also agreed to a tax abatement to encourage Vintage Tech to invest into the community.

School officials anticipate the school district will receive $915,743 in total taxes over five years, according to district documents.

John Greuling, president and CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development, told the school board that Vintage Tech’s purchase of the Plainfield building shows they are making a “firm commitment to the community.”

He said the former Fox Valley Press building represents a “perfect fit” for Vintage Tech.

Vintage Tech will also be donating $5,000 to the district’s Foundation for Excellence.

The school board approved the abatement by a vote of 6-0.

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Patch reporter Michelle Mullins contributed to this article.