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September 23, 2004

Company’s Decision to Build New Distribution Center Brought On by $2.7 Million in Opportunity Returns Financing

CHICAGO - As a part of his historic, regional plan to attract business and create jobs throughout the Northwest region known as Opportunity Returns, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the awarding of nearly $2.7 million in grants and credits to PETsMART Inc., the nation’s leading specialty retail supplier of pet products and services, that will enable the retailer to build a new 1 million-square-foot distribution center in Ottawa and bring 214 new jobs to the area.
“We’re thrilled that PETsMART has decided to locate a new distribution center in Ottawa that will bring more than 200 jobs to the community.  By being pro-active and ensuring that businesses have all the tools they need to compete and thrive, we’re creating an appealing business environment that is regularly luring nationally successful companies like PETsMART to Illinois.  Our goal is to make Illinois the most attractive state to do business in, and we’ll never stop working to make that happen,” Governor Blagojevich said.
The assistance package of grants and credits is from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).  DCEO Director Jack Lavin visited Ottawa today for the announcement, along with other state and local officials. 
“Governor Blagojevich’s economic development program is all about expanding economic opportunity and creating new jobs.  These 214 new jobs for Ottawa will play a key role in strengthening the local economy and making it even more conducive to business growth.  Today’s announcement is proof positive that by working together locally, we can act as a dynamic resource for business, even during challenging fiscal times,” said State Senator Patrick Welch (D-Peru).
“Governor Blagojevich and I understand that the we must continually make these kinds of strategic investments that will pay important economic dividends for years to come.  Partnering with an innovative company like PETsMART will create more than 200 new jobs and is a strong indication in the economic vitality of our region.  The Governor’s Opportunity Returns program is consistently providing our communities with the support we need to help us grow and prosper,” State Representative Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) said.   
DCEO will make available nearly $1.5 million through Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) corporate income tax credits over the next ten years based on job creation estimates; up to $250,000 in Large Business Development Program (LBDP) funds; Business Development Public Infrastructure Program (BDPIP) funding in the amount of $500,000 to the city of Ottawa for water and sewer infrastructure improvements; $107,000 in Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) job training funds that will help enhance the skills of its workforce; and $344,000 in additional financial benefits, such as sales tax exemptions and tax credits for job creation resulting from the company’s location within an Enterprise Zone.
“PETsMART is excited to build our newest distribution center in Ottawa, where we have a willing and able workforce, easy access to major transportation arteries and a favorable business climate,” said Tony Truesdale, senior vice president of Distribution and Logistics at PETsMART, Inc.  “The attractive business credits and incentives that became available, coupled with the outstanding cooperation we received from state DCEO officials and the City of Ottawa, helped make our decision on where to build a much easier one.”
The distribution center will be the company’s ninth and largest facility in its distribution network, serving nearly 700 stores located throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Founded in 1987 in Phoenix, PETsMART is the largest specialty retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets.  In addition to its stores, the company also operates a large pet supply catalog business and is a leading online provider of pet products and information (www.petsmart.com).  The developers of the new distribution center are Rosemont, Illinois-based McShane Corporation and Ottawa-based Halterman-Reynolds, L.L.C.,
“Governor Blagojevich’s vision was to redefine the role of the state’s economic development agency so that it would act as a better catalyst of business attraction and growth - and, in turn, help create more jobs and a more tangible, positive impact for the local economy.  The business incentives the state is providing to help bring PETsMART and hundreds of new jobs to Ottawa is a fine example of that vision at work,” DCEO Director Lavin said.
The Opportunity Returns regional economic development plan is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history.  Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – finding areas with common economic strengths and needs, and developing a plan with specific actions for each region.  This grassroots effort for the Northwest region was the product of significant outreach over several months with business, civic and labor leaders, and elected officials.  This plan is tailored to deliver real results that local businesses will see, feel, and, hopefully, profit from.


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