Southwestern Illinois TIF Success Stories
Advanced Outsource Solutions latest tenant at Alton Center Business Park
By ALAN J. ORTBALS
With the addition of Advanced Outsource Solutions late last year, Alton Center Business Park now boasts 650 jobs with more on the way. Its tenants include the American Water Works, American Water Resources, Imperial Manufacturing Group and AOS.
“With all the jobs that were lost there from the glass plant, it’s really great to be able to return good paying jobs back to that site,” said Greg Caffey, Alton’s director of economic development and housing.
The redevelopment of the severely blighted and abandoned Owens-Illinois Glass plant would not have been possible without the use of tax increment financing, according to Mike Clark, president of Clark Properties, a partner in Alton Center Business Park, LLC, the project developer.
Caffey said that the city has authorized up to $6 million in TIF funds to be used to aid in the redevelopment project. Approximately $4.5 million has been allocated so far, mostly for demolition and environmental remediation.
AOS, the center’s newest tenant, is the brainchild of Steve Brenegan, senior vice president of Challenge Unlimited, and Tami Anstedt, its general manager. Challenge Unlimited is a nonprofit corporation that has been providing work-related opportunities to individuals with disabilities in Southwestern Illinois for 55 years. While AOS is an independent, for-profit corporation, it is an offshoot of CU and CU is helping get it off the ground. Anstedt moved over to head the new company.
AOS opened for business in December in 42,000 square feet but has agreements in place with Clark to expand to more than 100,000 square feet. Anstedt said that they currently have 18 employees. Local companies make up AOS’ current client list but they are hopeful of landing accounts with some Fortune 500 companies later this spring. Anstedt is projecting employment to be as high as 150 workers within two years.
American Water is a New Jersey corporation that supplies water through its various subsidiaries to 15 million people in 45 states and Canada. American Water located its customer service subsidiary, American Water Works, in the Alton Center in 2001 after a nation-wide search. Workers there handle a variety of customer calls regarding service and billing.
American Water Resources is also a subsidiary of American Water. It provides insurance to homeowners covering water line breaks from the water main to the home.
Imperial Manufacturing Group, a Canadian-based manufacturer and distributor of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and building products, has grown into more than 200,000 square feet since moving its Illinois operations to the Alton Center from Hamel in 2007.
The Alton Center Business Park was named the Southwestern Illinois Development Authority’s outstanding development of the year in 2000 and won the prestigious Phoenix Award for outstanding brownfield redevelopment and community impact in 2001.