Franklin Park business moving to Streamwood
Fresh Express and its 656 employees plan to leave Franklin Park in 2013. |Mark Lawton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 14, 2013 6:39AM
FRANKLIN PARK — Fresh Express and its 656 employees plan to leave Franklin Park and head northwest.
The company, which makes packaged salads, plans to move its operations to Streamwood. In May, village trustees in Streamwood approved redeveloping an empty industrial property and offered an undefined economic incentive to Fresh Express, according to the village website.
Fresh Express will start moving employees at the end of January and will close its Franklin Park operations by the end of August. All employees in Franklin Park will be offered jobs at the new location, about a 20-mile drive away.
The company has occupied three buildings in Franklin Park. It has leased a 119,000-square-foot facility at 9501 Nevada Ave. since 1989 and a 264,000-square-foot building at 2553 Edgington St. since 1997. It also bought a 51,000-square-foot building at 11010 Addison Ave. in 2004.
The company has been looking to consolidate its Chicago area operations for the last seven years, said Deverl Maserang, senior vice president of global value chain at Charlotte, N.C.-based Chiquita Brands, which owns Fresh Express.
Maserang said Chiquita considered consolidating in Franklin Park but couldn’t find a site that met its criteria. Those include size, environmental condition, water availability and ability to discharge waste from the site.
“We want more agility and flexibility in a consolidated site,” Maserang said.
“You hate losing jobs,” said John Schneider, community development director for the village of Franklin Park. “Once the building becomes empty, it has an effect on the tax base.”
The village approved 6B status in 2010 for the Edgington Street building. Under 6B status the owners pay lower real estate taxes for 12 years, an incentive in leasing or selling the building.
Schneider said the village may be able to assist by finding loan programs, federal subsidies, loan programs and expediting permits and approval processes.