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Business in Wheeling has consistently outpaced that of Cook County and the State of Illinois since 1982. Between 1982 and 1991, the Village experienced a 100 percent increase in the number of manufacturing establishments. Approximately 400 industrial businesses representing over 17 million square feet of industrial space and almost $ 1 billion in wholesale trade exists in the Village, with building and tenant spaces ranging in size from 1,200 to 400,000 square feet in area. Between 1984 and 1989, a 95 percent increase in the number of employees was recorded in the Village. Wheeling is also home to over 330 commercial, retail and service establishments with gross sales in excess of $580 million. Total retail and service employment is over 6,000 and represents an annual payroll of $ 110 million.
More than 20,000 jobs are generated by Wheeling-based businesses. This reflects a 136 percent increase in local employment over a 10-year period. The jobs correspond generally to the community work force of one-third blue collar, two-thirds white collar.
While Wheeling corporate borders allow for modest municipal expansion through annexation, there continues to be a good amount of property for construction of commercial and industrial buildings. Approximately one-third of the land within the Village is zoned for industrial use, approximately 15 percent of which is vacant and ready for development. Available sites range in size from 1 to 40 acres. For new or expanding industrial and commercial development, the Village provides the ability to reduce the tax assessment of new development as an incentive for construction. Numerous companies have taken advantage of this incentive to build or expand in Wheeling. Along the Milwaukee Avenue corridor in the Village, there is an active tax incremental financing (TIP) district where assistance in the assemblage, purchase and improvement of properties is available. Interest in commercial redevelopment possibilities has increased due to this program and the Village is expecting major property development companies to implement construction plans in the near future.
The Village business community is represented by an active Chamber of Commerce. It is the goal of the Wheeling/Prospect Heights Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry to maintain a friendly and progressive community and advance the economic well-being of the Wheeling and Prospect Heights area. The WPH Chamber is organized to work for its members and act as liaison between the businesses and the community. Each Chamber member has access to programs, events, publications and benefits offered through Chamber membership.
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