Edward Don leaving North Riverside

Deal done after Woodridge board passes financial incentive package

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By BOB SKOLNIK

The Edward Don Company is leaving North Riverside after 41 years of calling the village home.

On Thursday night the Woodridge Village Board voted 4 to 1 to approve an economic incentive agreement to grant generous tax rebates to Edward Don in exchange for moving to a new office and warehouse park to be built at the corner or the Stevenson Expressway and I-355.

Edward Don's lease on its new 362,500-square-foot facility, which still must be built, will begin on July 1, 2012.

According to agreement Edward Don, a restaurant supply company, must start distributing products from its new location by Aug. 1, 2012. Edward Don's lease on its current headquarters at 2500 Harlem Ave. in North Riverside expires on December 31, 2012.

"This is a big event," said Edward Don Vice-President of Operations Mark Zabloudil, who attended Thursday night's meeting in Woodridge. "It's a historical event for us at Edward Don. We've been in our current building for 40 years, and we're excited to begin our next phase of growth and development."

Edward Don will have a 20-year lease on its new Woodridge headquarters and warehouse, with two five-year options after that.

The company is getting valuable financial incentives to leave North Riverside. For the first five years, Woodridge will rebate 75 percent of the sales tax that Edward Don pays back to the company. For the next 15 years after that, 50 percent of the sales tax revenue will be rebated back to the company.

In addition, Woodridge is rebating all utility taxes up to a maximum of $1 million for the period of the lease. Edward Don's building fees will also be waived.

According to Woodridge Village Manager Kathleen Rush, the village in the first year of Edward Don's existence there will net roughly $242,000 from additional sales taxes, property taxes and other fees. Nearly all of that figure represents sales taxes.

Rush on Friday afternoon emailed an economic impact statement to the Landmark, showing that over the next 30 years the incentives package is worth $10 million to Edward Don.

At the same time, over the next 30 years Woodridge expects to collect $26.7 million in sales taxes and about $405,000 in property taxes from Edward Don.

"Our property tax is very, very small," Rush said.

Regardless of the deal Woodridge has crafted with the company, the result is that North Riverside is losing its single-largest sales tax producer, representing hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales taxes annually.

Zabloudil said that the financial incentives are only one factor in Don's decision to leave North Riverside.

"The financial incentives are just one component," Zabloudil said. "The space and the growing and the modernization of our facility was the driving factor to relocate. We have the opportunity to have more dock space, taller ceilings, a more modern facility, a more energy-efficient facility and things like that."

Zabloudil had nothing but kind words for North Riverside, but implied that negotiations to stay in North Riverside didn't advance very far. Edward Don has no current tax rebate deals with the village of North Riverside.

"North Riverside has worked with us, they've talked to us," Zabloudil said. "We didn't get into any real specifics about staying there, but they really are going to miss us, according to what they've talked to us about. They don't want us to leave."

Zabloudil said that Edward Don, which was founded in 1921 and moved to North Riverside in 1970, valued its time in North Riverside.

"We're looking at the opportunity to grow and expand our business," Zabloudil said. "We've been in North Riverside for 40 years. They've been a great partner. They've helped us tremendously to grow and expand our business. It's just our next stage of growth and development."

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