HUNTLEY – An industrial service company plans to move its Woodstock operations to Huntley in the coming year, a decision made because of the Interstate 90-Route 47 interchange project.
LionHeart Engineering, headquartered in Northbrook, recently finalized a deal with Entre Commercial Reality to occupy a 2.88-acre site near the FYH Bearing building in Huntley Corporate Park, near the southwest edge of I-90.
The company had been looking for a larger building after it outgrew its service facility in Woodstock, where it employs 30. Huntley officials have said the company could add 20 or more jobs after it moves to Huntley in April.
“It started with the need for bigger space,” LionHeart owner Don Ritter said.
“In our long search for that space, it became a smart business decision to move closer to our customer base and closer to the interstate.”
The service company maintains industrial generators for hospitals and large businesses throughout the Chicago area. Ritter said the Huntley location allows the company’s technicians to have quick access to interstate that reach Chicago.
The full interchange being constructed at I-90 and Route 47 also made Huntley “more attractive,” Ritter said, because it allows the company to add clients in the Rockford area.
Decisions like LionHeart’s is exactly what Huntley officials sought when they started the decade-long process of securing the money for the $69 million interchange project.
Huntley has quietly built momentum in recent months toward its dream of development around I-90. In April, before LionHeart settled on Huntley, Impact Plastics agreed to move its recycling business back to Huntley to take advantage of tollway access.
Village and economic development officials were active throughout the negotiation process and played a crucial role in making LionHeart’s decision to relocate easier, Ritter said.
The village has generated $13,000 in incentives, mostly in waived permit fees, to ease LionHeart’s move.
The Village Board will vote on those incentives by September, when
trustees advance the plans for a new company building, Village Manager Dave Johnson said.
“It’s nice to see that the long process of getting an interchange is being viewed as an asset by the business community,” Johnson said.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity also contributed incentives for the LionHeart move because the company also was looking at locations out of sate, said Victor Narusis, the village’s business recruitment coordinator.
With two successful recruitments in recent months, Narusis said Huntley residents could expect more business announcements in the near future.
“We are cautiously optimistic, but we are seeing activity like we have not seen before,” he said.