Businesses are attracted to Waukegan because of its strategic location near major thoroughfares and markets. The area’s abundant natural resources and excellent transportation systems help to maintain a steady stream of business into the city.
Rich in history and charm, Waukegan offers the best of both worlds with metropolitan convenience and small-town flavor. A skilled labor force, fresh supplies, ample energy sources, available land and existing facilities and a cooperative city administration are just some of the business advantages offered by Waukegan. As the businesses in the area continue to expand, Waukegan continues to live up to its reputation as an economic hub.
Over the past 10 years, the City of Waukegan has enjoyed well over $500 million in new development. Nevertheless, the best years lie ahead as the groundwork has been laid for redevelopment opportunities at the Fountain Square property, Waukegan’s lakefront and downtown and any one of the several commercial and industrial areas throughout the community.
Since the Waukegan City Council unanimously approved the master plan for the revitalization of the city’s downtown, Waukegan’s high-tech and biomedical corridor at Waukegan Road has boomed. Roughly one million square feet of office, warehouse and light industrial space has commenced along the corridor. Nearly $13 million in new commercial construction has already taken place with hundreds of millions of dollars already invested for new developments in the coming years. It is quickly becoming one of the largest employment centers in Lake County.
New construction includes Fountain Square, which will house a $250 million mixed-use development for new retail, dining and hospitality opportunities. The corridor also attracted new businesses such as Uline Corporation, United Conveyor Corporation, Peer Inc., WMS Industries Inc., Yaskawa Electric, Dueblin Company, Nielson-Massey Vanillas and several others.
In the city’s downtown, developments include Family Piano Co., featuring sales, rental, tuning, repair and restoration of pianos, and Joplin’s Java & Ragtime Café, offering teaching studios, coffee bar and entertainment. Restaurants located in downtown include the very popular Green Town Tavern. The renovated Genesee Theatre houses many world-class arts performances and events annually.
Overall, the city expects to develop more than one million additional square feet of retail, hospitality, recreational, educational and cultural facilities over the next two decades.
The Waukegan area is also home to the corporate headquarters of Abbott Laboratories and Baxter Healthcare Corporation. Other widely known firms, such as A.L. Hansen and Akzo Nobel, are located in the Waukegan area. Products produced by industries in Waukegan include pharmaceuticals, glass and paper products, electrical and electronic components and chemicals, among others. Waukegan is home to the Lake County Building and Courthouse, bringing an array of legal services and expertise to the downtown area. Great Lakes Naval Training center, located just south of Waukegan, provides steady employment for thousands of area residents and attracts hundreds of additional consumers to the city.
The highly skilled and diverse labor force of more than 45,000 people takes a no-nonsense approach toward business and production. The clerical, professional, operational and craft occupations represent the highest percentage of the city’s total labor force.
The city’s administration welcomes businesses to Waukegan using a cooperative approach to ensure a positive and effective relationship. Waukegan has the resources for business and industry to broaden their horizons today and well into the future.