Major Warehouse Construction to Begin in Edwardsville, Ill.

Nov. 4--A developer expects to begin pouring the floor of a 600,000-square-foot warehouse complex today in Edwardsville with hopes of completing the job by spring.

Panattoni Development Co., of Sacramento, Calif., controls about 450 acres along Illinois Route 111 and New Poag Road on the western edge of the city. The property falls in the Gateway Commerce Center Enterprise Zone, a special state tax district covering about three square miles.

The warehouse complex is expected to cost up to $13 million.

The enterprise zone, expanded earlier this year to include about 300 acres of Panattoni's land, provides incentives and tax breaks for developers, including a sales tax exemption on building materials and property tax abatement.

The initial project could be expanded to a 1.1 million-square-foot complex, said Mark Branstetter, senior development manager for Panattoni. A complete build-out of the land could create as much as 6 million square feet, officials have said.

John Herzog, Madison County's economic development coordinator, said: "Assuming things have gone well with the enterprise zone, that option to expand that zone would be there."

Panattoni has building permits from Edwardsville and continues to work on road planning, said Tim Harr, city public works director. Grading work on the site began last month.

The property tax abatement lasts seven years, but determining how much Panattoni saves -- and the county loses -- is impossible, Herzog said, without knowing what businesses will be there.

County officials have speculated that as many as 2,000 jobs could be created over time.

Panattoni has constructed and manages more than 35 million square feet of industrial, retail and office space nationwide. The company has a number of projects in Missouri, including a 500,000-square-foot distribution center near St. Louis Mills shopping center in Hazelwood.