From the Daily Journal 7-1-2017
Kankakee County’s top manufacturer is set to establish an even larger local footprint.
CSL Behring has purchased the neighboring 74-acre shuttered Bunge Edible Oil property along Illinois Route 50 in Bourbonnais Township.
The acquisition, announced Friday, means the company will own 138 prime acres at the southwest section of Armour Road and Illinois Route 50.
Bunge ceased edible oil production at the end of 2016. When it closed, it had less than 200 workers.
The purchase includes existing utilities, office space, warehouse sites and parking. Of the 74 acres, about 25 is farmland.
CSL did not disclose terms of the sale. The closing on the property will be executed in two phases.
Phase 1 consists of the farmland on the north and south ends of the property. Phase 2 consists of the remainder of the property and includes demolition of the former Bunge manufacturing space. That portion of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
“This is an exciting time in the growth of CSL Behring,” said Tricia Stewart, a CSL senior vice president and general manager of the Bourbonnais Township site. “With this purchase, the Kankakee manufacturing site is poised for future expansion, enabling us to deliver on our promise of providing life-saving biotherapies to our patients.”
The company, headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, is a worldwide leader in the manufacture of plasma-derived medicines. CSL employs more than 1,200 workers here, making it Kankakee County’s largest manufacturing plant.
Worldwide, CSL employs 17,000 and has manufacturing plants in Australia, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Bourbonnais Township.
According to CSL officials, they had been looking at the potential acquisition only since May.
The company does not have specific plans regarding plant expansion, but spokeswoman Maureen Powell said the acquisition puts it in a great position to compete for future growth and new development within CSL.
“Without additional land, there were limits on what we can do,” Powell said Friday. “This puts us in good position for those opportunities.”
Tim Nugent, executive director of the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County, said this acquisition will put the company in a strong position to positively impact the workforce for years to come.
“We all have to cheer this. This is a huge corporation investing considerable money in our area,” Nugent said. “This shows that Kankakee County is a great place to be. Now we have to get our education level to match these jobs so our people can fill these jobs.”
Jeff Bennett, of McColly-Bennett Real Estate, helped bring the fast-moving deal together. Gendell Partners Bradley LLC, an affiliate of Terraco Inc., the owners of the Shoppes at Meadowview, purchased the property only several days ago and then sold the property to CSL.
Gendell will be responsible for the demolition of the former Bunge manufacturing plant. Bennett said demolition should begin shortly.
Bradley Mayor Bruce Adams said the expansion not only will bring back to life a site that was closed but will provide future top-paying manufacturing jobs.
“This is an absolute win-win. This is not only a great thing for CSL but for the village of Bradley and the county as a whole.”