Lowe's to open distribution center in Rockford

Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich announced Sept. 22 the awarding of more than $11.2 million in Opportunity Returns support for Lowe’s, which will allow the home improvement retailer to build a 1.4 million square foot Regional Distribution Center in Rockford. The project is expected to bring 500 new jobs to the area.

The dynamic new facility, which will be the size of approximately 30 football fields under one roof, will have more than 5 miles of conveyors moving 32,000 products through the facility. The center, its first in Illinois, will serve more than 100 Lowe’s stores in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana and Michigan.

“We are continuing to invest in companies that invest in Illinois,” Blagojevich said. “Lowe’s is another nationally renowned company that has decided that Illinois is a great state to substantially grow its business. By forging this partnership with Lowe’s to build its new distribution center in Rockford, we are bringing more good jobs to the area, boosting the economic vitality of the entire region and creating more opportunities for our working families to get ahead.”

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will provide the support for Lowe’s new distribution center. DCEO will make available Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) corporate income tax credits over the next 10 years based on job creation numbers; a Large Business Development Program (LBDP) grant; Enterprise Zone benefits, including sales tax exemptions and tax credits for job creation; and Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) job training funds that will help enhance the skills of its workforce. IDOT will also make available $3 million for key roadway improvements needed to build the new distribution center.

Mike Mabry, Lowe’s executive vice president of logistics and distribution, said: “We appreciate the work and support at the both the state and local level to make this a win-win project. Lowe’s Rockford, Ill., Regional distribution center represents an approximate $90 to $100 million investment for our company, will create approximately 500 jobs and will help Lowe’s continue to provide quality home improvement products to our customers, when they want them and at everyday low prices.”

Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) said: “Through tremendous initiatives like this one, we’re driving home the message that Rockford is a great city for businesses to locate, expand and prosper.”

Morrissey also complimented other area units of local government for their participation in this project, including significant tax abatements.

Construction on the distribution center will begin this fall and is expected to be completed in 2007.

Lowe’s is a $36.5 billion retailer of home improvement products and the world’s second largest home improvement retailer, with a specific emphasis on retail “do-it-yourself” and commercial business customers.

The company operates 26 stores in Illinois, with four under construction, and has more than 3,500 Illinois employees. It has more than 1,125 stores in 49 states, with approximately 130 million square feet of retail selling space.

From the Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 2005, issue

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