Joliet-Area RV Biz May Be Lured to St. Charles

The northwest suburb is offering US Adventure RV a $250,000 incentive to get the RV service center to move and open a full dealership there.

An RV service center in unincorporated Joliet, which needs a larger building in order to open a motor home dealership, may be taking its 21 jobs and projected $9 million in annual sales to St. Charles.

Although the deal is not finalized, the northwest suburb is offering US Adventure RV a $250,000 incentive package if it agrees to relocate to a spot on Randall Road. The deal was approved Monday night by the St. Charles City Council.

US Adventure, based in Davenport, Iowa, wants a suburban Chicago location that's larger than the industrial park space it leases at 1697 New Lenox Road, near Briggs Street and Interstate 80, President John Dresselhaus said. It shares the site with Berland's Tools and several smaller businesses.

The company needs a building that's big enough to continue its current service operation as well as expand into a full-fledged retail venue, selling pop-up campers and all sizes of motor homes, including high-end Airstream models, Dresselhaus said.

While the company's been "very happy with where we've been" in Joliet, Dresselhaus said it's not feasible to expand in its current location.

When they started looking at potential sites, the northwest suburbs were attractive because the area's affluency provides a prime customer base for the types of vehicles they're selling, he said. However, the St. Charles deal works only if the company is given an incentive package to help underwrite their relocation expenses, he said.

"We have not necessarily made up our mind where to move to yet," Dresselhaus said Tuesday. "We've looked at several potential sites."

One of those was a vacant building on Cherry Hill Road, in the unincorporated area between Joliet and New Lenox, said Jim Haller, Joliet's director of community and economic development.

Haller said he met with officials from US Adventure and discussed a deal in which the business would move and be annexed into Joliet, but "that was the last we heard from them."

"We really don't do much with retailers (in terms of incentive packages)," he said.

Dresselhaus told St. Charles aldermen Monday that he anticipates the new retail operation would create 21 jobs, have an annual payroll of $3.5 million and would generate about $45 million in sales in its first five years, according to a story published by St. Charles Patch.

The incentive package, which is tied to the company relocating to 8,000 square feet next to a Harley-Davidson dealership, calls for St. Charles to abate 1 percent of the municipal sales tax US Adventure pays annually for six years up to $250,000 total, the story said.

If US Adventure closes its dealership before 10 years has elapsed, it will be required to return the city's money.

"If we make a move, we'll decide in the next few months," Dresselhaus said. "The winter months are our slow time, our off-season."




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