Chicago Heights offers lower taxes for pharmaceutical company, body shop

2013-01-08T18:15:00Z Chicago Heights offers lower taxes for pharmaceutical company, body shopPaul Czapkowicz Times Correspondent
January 08, 2013 6:15 pm  • 

CHICAGO HEIGHTS | The City Council on Monday approved an economic development incentive application that, if approved by Cook County, is expected to lead to a major expansion of the Pfizer/Alpharma facility at 400 State St.

The Class 6(b) incentive would lower real estate taxes for the company that is planning a $5 million construction project.

The Chicago Heights facility produces an antibiotic for animals.

"This project is to take the API, or active pharmaceutical ingredient (and) convert it into a granule," site Director Larry McGrenera said. "The project is to put in a building to house the compactor, the blending operation and all of the processing equipment in order to produce that product."

Pfizer/Alpharma has been in the city since 1981. It currently employs about 100 people in Chicago Heights. The planned expansion would likely add at least eight more full-time jobs.

Mayor David Gonzalez cited the additional utility taxes that would be generated from the expansion and also the potential for an increase in water sales.

"It has a lot of positive effects on the city," Gonzalez said. "It's not always just the property taxes that some people think come with expansion."

Also on Monday, the City Council approved a renewal application for a Cook County Class 8 tax incentive on behalf of Riverdale Body Shop, 311 S. Halsted St.

If approved by the county, that incentive also would reduce real estate taxes for the business.

"In order for Riverdale Body Shop to continue to be a viable business, they feel that it's important that this particular incentive stay intact," said Joe Kudra, economic development director.

Owner Jerry Seida said his business has 13 full-time employees in Chicago Heights. Riverdale Body Shop currently has nine Chicago area locations, but Seida said the store in Dolton will close.

"We've been taxed out of existence," Seida said. "We need to increase our workload at other places, which is a benefit to places like here in the Heights and elsewhere."

Seida said his company has recently gone "green."

"All our paints are water-based now," he said. "We went away from solvent."

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