Hunt is on for buyer as Caterpillar plant goes on the market

By Jack Mccarthy Chronicle Media

The former Caterpillar plant along Route 30 in Montgomery was a major employer for the region for decades.

It’s an enticing, spacious property for just the right buyer — move-in ready with friendly neighbors and easy access to transportation.

The site even has its own helicopter pad.

But it’s not a luxury home in a hot subdivision. The sprawling 4 million-square foot property in unincorporated Kendall County, is a heavy equipment manufacturing plant being vacated by Peoria-based Caterpillar Inc.

Jones Lang LaSalle, a Chicago-based commercial real estate services and investment management firm, is managing the sale and recently produced a six-page, full-color brochure to help make its pitch.

The plant is “a highly-functional heavy manufacturing facility in one of the most vibrant and growing economic corridors in the Midwest,” the JLL promotional piece stated. “The Caterpillar Aurora Facility represents a rare opportunity to acquire a fully functioning, well-maintained and highly connected heavy manufacturing facility with favorable zoning in one of the leading industrial submarkets in the Midwest.”

The plant is located on Illinois Route 31 between Oswego and Montgomery in unincorporated Kendall County.  Caterpillar said last year it would close the plant and move equipment production to other facilities. The move would affect an estimated 800 jobs.

The shutdown is expected to be completed later this year.

“My top priority in 2018 is the reuse or redevelopment of the Caterpillar facility,” Matt Brolley, Montgomery village president, said during last month’s State of the Village address. “The plant’s closure will have a ripple effect in our local economy, impacting our residents in Montgomery and also in the area.”

Cover and interior pages from Jones Lane LaSalle’s sale pitch brochure for the Caterpillar plant in unincorporated Kendall County.

Caterpillar’s closing could result in $465,000 loss in Kendall County property tax revenues plus broader potential losses in sales and income taxes, losses by plant suppliers and possible stresses on the local housing market.

Local, regional and federal officials announced formation a Kendall County CAT Taskforce in August 2017. Caterpillar pledged to work with the group to find a new use. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Caterpillar is seeking a single buyer.

The task force also emphasized the need to retrain workers for new jobs and continue to build a business-friendly local environment.

“(The closure) represents a significant challenge to our economy and directly impacts the lives of our friends and neighbors,” U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-14) said last year. “While this is undoubtedly a challenge in our community, if we face it together we can meet that challenge.”

The plant opened in 1958 for heavy equipment manufacturing and also included office space.  At its peak, the company had more than 5,500 people employed at the plant.

JLL said the  350-acre site features 10 buildings of varying sizes, including three of around 1-million square-feet apiece. It also has 3,750 parking spaces, a 300,000 gallon water tower, waste water treatment plant and a Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail spur that connects to the nearby BNSF main trunk line.

“The Caterpillar facility features a highly attractive site with existing, well-maintained buildings that could be easily adapted for fabrication, production, assembly or warehousing uses,” JLL said in its pitch.

“With easy access to the regional interstate highway network as well as an existing rail spur on site, the property is well equipped to meet the needs of a wide variety of users.”




— Hunt on for buyer as Caterpillar plant goes on the market —-