Peerless ready to put headquarters in Aurora

Published: 3/3/2010 12:01 AM

A promise by Aurora to offer a 50 percent tax revenue sharing plan and provide a location with room to expand were enough Tuesday for Peerless Industries to promise to bring 150 new jobs to the city from China as officials plan to relocate the company's North American headquarters.

Peerless Industries Inc., a $101 million company specializing in making television and speaker mounting equipment, is currently located on North Avenue in Melrose Park. With final approval planned for Tuesday's City Council meeting, Peerless is poised to relocate to 2300 White Oak Circle Drive, on the city's far east side.

"We're excited about the prospect of moving to Aurora. We've been looking for a facility for over a year and a half now and what we've found at the Aurora site is a perfect fit for our operation, has enough expansion room in the back so we can grow the company here," President Michael Campagna said. "We don't want to make this large a move again in a short time if we don't have to."

Upon relocation to Aurora, Campagna said the company intends to invest about $18 million to redevelop the 300,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility in the White Oak Business Park. It also will discontinue the practice of outsourcing manufacturing work to its China facility and relocate and consolidate manufacturing, distribution and corporate operations to Aurora.

Aurora's Executive Director of Economic Development, Sherman Jenkins, said Peerless' move is proof that Aurora has what it takes to lure international businesses to town. He also believes Aurora has the work force to support it.

"The company has a number of locations throughout the world but they are going to close their operation in China and bring that back to the states, which will be close to 150 jobs," Jenkins said. "They'll then be working with the city as they work to hire and fill those positions using, hopefully, a number of Aurora-area residents."

Each of the jobs, which will be phased in over four years and offered to Aurora-area residents, will pay between $37,000 and $68,000 including benefits.

In return, the Aurora Economic Development Commission has recommended a 50 percent tax rebate of the city's portion of property taxes for four years, with a maximum of $193,741.

The agreement requires Peerless to keep its operation in the city for 10 years and employ a minimum of 135 additional employees beginning in 2014. Should Peerless not fulfill its obligation, a percentage of the property tax incentives will be reimbursed to the city.

Eighth Ward Alderman Rick Mervine couldn't be happier.

"I have two monitors currently being held up by Peerless now and they're great quality products, really sturdy," he said.