Lisle commission sets Navistar hearing date

Published: 3/30/2010 2:39 PM

Navistar's proposed move to the former Alcatel-Lucent facility on Warrenville Road will be the subject of a special hearing April 17 of Lisle's planning and zoning commission.

The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. and is the first time village leaders have met with company officials since Navistar resubmitted design plans for the 88-acre parcel. The company wants the village to create a tax increment financing district at the site to reduce infrastructure improvement costs.

The company's previous proposal estimated the taxing district could generate $20 million over its 23-year life span, but new figures haven't been disclosed.

Residential neighbors of the parcel are fighting the proposal, complaining the special taxing district is unnecessary and unprecedented because it benefits a single company.

Navistar officials said the TIF is an important piece of the deal and a $20 million rebate is a drop in the bucket compared to the $100 million investment the company is making. They also cite the millions of dollars in various tax and fee revenues that will be generated by the new employees the company is bringing to the area.

Almost 1,600 new jobs will be created if the move goes through, officials say. Navistar currently is headquartered in Warrenville and houses 1,500 employees, but the company is adding the 1,600 posts to the new headquarters. Company officials said the Lisle building has a capacity for roughly 4,150 employees.

The deal remains uncertain for another reason though. Wednesday is the deadline of an intergovernmental agreement calling for the forest preserve commission to sell a 3-acre ring road on the north side of the property to the county and village for $1.5 million.

The county and village would turn the road over to Navistar for promises of certain economic development initiatives. The forest preserve is refusing to ratify the agreement until certain conditions regarding safety and access are met.

The forest preserve is expected to hire Woodridge-based Golder Associates at its April 6 board meeting to analyze Navistar's environmental impact study and compile a report of its findings so the commission can decide how to proceed with the road deal.

The Golder contract will cost the forest preserve between $10,000 and $13,000. Forest Preserve Executive Director Brent Manning said the report is expected in two to six weeks. As for the future of the road deal, Manning said not extending the deadline doesn't mean it's dead.

"We're just kind of on hold," Manning said. "It doesn't kill it nor does it invalidate it."