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Costco expanding in Morris with meat processing plant

Published: Thursday, April 10, 2014 9:14 p.m. CDT

MORRIS – As many as 100 local residents could find employment at a new hot dog, hamburger and meatball processing plant scheduled for construction in Morris.

The plant will be an addition to the existing Costco warehouse facility located north of town.

Aside from jobs, the plant is expected to bring $110 million in investment to the area, according to information form the Grundy Economic Development Council.

“This is a great project for Morris,” Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick said Thursday. “It brings jobs, expands the tax base for the schools and helps all of the taxpayers.”

According to Costco’s project development manager Ted Johnson – who presented Thursday to the Morris Development Review Committee – the 310,000-square-foot processing plant will be constructed on a 50-acre plot located west of the current facility.

The committee approved Costco’s project proposal, so the company can now obtain the necessary permits.

The project and corresponding intergovernmental agreement still awaits approval from the city’s Planning and Zoning Board as well as the Morris City Council, but Costco aims to begin construction in May, Kopczick said.

“That’s a very aggressive construction schedule,” Kopczick said. “But the city is working very hard to get them the necessary permits to make that happen.”

The development committee asked several questions about the project including parking lot lighting, landscaping and other details.

“I’ve looked over the plan on two occasions now and it looks like it meets all of our requirements,” Morris Building and Zoning Officer Bill Cheshareck said during the meeting.

Johnson said all industrial traffic will enter the facility through a Route 47 entrance and all employee traffic will enter through an entrance to be constructed on Lisbon Road. Johnson said the company will make a few improvements to Lisbon Road when constructing the new facility.

As with its other projects, Costco will receive a property tax abatement for the plant’s property.

Nancy Norton Ammer, CEO of the GEDC, said all taxing bodies have approved a four-year abatement for the company. With the abatement, 50 percent of processing plant’s property taxes will be rebated back to Costco.

“It’s at that level primarily because of the significant dollar amount of the project,” Ammer said Thursday.

This will be the third project Costco has undertaken within the city of Morris. The first was the construction of the warehouse nearly 13 years ago, and the second was the addition to the warehouse.

“It’s nice to see an existing business wanting to stay here,” Ammer said. “It’s a big project, and it’s a value added project. It’s a processing facility, so we’re looking forward to the new job creation as well.”

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