Kaplans: 2019 was a big year for commercial progress in McHenry County

New commercial and industrial real estate projects approved, in process or completed in 2019 showed relatively strong interest throughout McHenry County.

We contacted each municipality in the area to ask for their most significant projects during the year in terms of building size, sales tax revenue generated and/or number of employees.

Most of the towns were kind enough to participate. Below is an overview of some of the additions to our economic fabric in McHenry County this past year.

• Cary – Spirit Water is a 5,000-square-foot taproom, craft brewery and distillery next to Aldi that is generating a lot of buzz. SRU Electric moved into a 40,000-square-foot industrial space on Industrial Drive and will be bringing 30 new employees to the community.

• Algonquin – A $3 million renovation was completed to the Algonquin Town Center on the east side of the river and a $5 million downtown Main Street project wrapped up two years of construction, including a bridge replacement and underground infrastructure replacement. Floor and Décor filled up the former Toys R Us and Babies R Us space.

• McHenry – Jessup Manufacturing opted to stay in McHenry and proposed a 40,000-square-foot, $6.3 million expansion using a multi-tax body tax abatement, while Brake Parts moved its research and development facility from Kentucky to McHenry.

• Woodstock – A recently completed downtown plan provides guidance and broad goals to bring 500 new residential units within a mile of the train station. The city put much of the land near the train station into a tax increment financing district to attract development and investment.

The Woodstock Square Apartments are the first to break ground and take advantage of the opportunity to be involved in Woodstock’s transformation. The Illinois Legislature adopted the Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan in 2019, earmarking $57 million in funding for the reconstruction of Route 47 from Route 14 through Route 120 in Woodstock.

• Huntley – TEQ completed construction of a 46,800-square-foot addition to its already existing 84,000-square-foot facility. Sew Hop’d Brewery completed renovations and opened in the Union Special building. This will bring craft brewery tourism to Huntley.

• Crystal Lake – Several new businesses opened in Crystal Lake, such as Steinhafels, Pet Supplies Plus, 815 Chophouse, Popeyes and Woodlore. A couple of businesses also expanded, such as Camfil, which invested $13 million to expand its facility by adding 50,000 square feet and hiring 90 new employees.

Chicago Plastic systems also expanded its operations, and the new facility is now home to the largest plastic joint machine in the U.S. Overall, the city had 416,026 square feet of commercial occupancies; 314,314 square feet of new business occupancies; 101,712 square feet of expanded/relocation occupancies; 498 new jobs created; and 75 new small businesses.

• Fox River Grove – Culver’s completed construction and opened (although in early 2020) for business. The new facility stands out as the first project that will hopefully bring other new projects to the village.

• Marengo – McHenry County’s only Interstate 90 interchange opened in December, a $33.4 million project at Route 23 that stands to change the complexion of business. Marengo also was awarded a $26.9 million grant to fund water and sewer improvements. Two developers bought 125 acres at the interchange and are actively seeking tenants and buyers.

• Johnsburg – Discount Tire opened near Walmart, and a new 9,700-square-foot, multi-tenant retail project just north of that is about to break ground. Two new restaurants also are coming to town: Legacy Restaurant and Mama Cimino’s Pizzeria. Bald Knob Marina recently changed hands.

• Lake in the Hills – Heather’s Senior Living was a ground-up 11,000-square-foot project with three buildings. Construction cost about $2.5 million, and it added 10 new employees. Pet Suites is an 10,000-square-foot dog day care facility bringing 10 new employees at a construction cost of $1.5 million.

Hopefully, the booming economy will bring even more and better activity in 2020.

• Bruce and Kevin Kaplan, father and son, are a top broker team with Premier Commercial Realty in Lake in the Hills. They can be reached at or

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