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Negotiations over tax incentives to bring a Canada-based Brandt Industries manufacturing plant to McLean County were unusual in that they included the Unit 5 school superintendent and the county board chair at the table, as well as economic development officials.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The McLean County Board voted 16-1 on Tuesday for a proposed deal to bring a Canadian manufacturer to central Illinois in exchange for at least 300 jobs and a plant investment of more than $21 million.

Carleigh Gray / WGLT

Unit 5’s school board on Monday reluctantly approved around $400,000 in property-tax breaks for a Canadian manufacturer in exchange for the promise of hundreds of new local jobs.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

A potential multi-sports complex on Bloomington-Normal's west side could top $50 million in public-private investment.

In an interview  for GLT's Sound Ideas, Katie Kim of the Kim Group, a developer working with landowner Dave Stark on a multi-use sports complex in Bloomington-Normal, said she continues to meet with stakeholders.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The face of retail is changing drastically, but there is still a place for brick and mortar stores. That's according to Rob Karr, the head of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

Karr spoke in Normal before the Economic Development Council saying there are parallels with the past in the way technology is changing retail.

Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council

The 11th annual One Voice contingent of McLean County elected officials, business, social service and education leaders is preparing to head to Washington, D.C.

Staff / WGLT

The closure of Macy's in Eastland Mall is a symbol of retail upheaval nationwide according to Bloomington City Council candidates in wards one, five, and seven.

Staff / WGLT

The Town of Normal has fired a broadside at the City of Bloomington over its decision to try to terminate the Metro Zone agreement.

Michael Hill / WGLT

Bloomington Alderman Diana Hauman is breaking with Mayor Tari Renner over the Metro Zone agreement.

Renner supports dissolving the partnership with Normal covering taxes, services, and infrastructure on the west side of town.

Staff / WGLT

The Bloomington and Normal dispute over the Metro Zone agreement on tax revenue and infrastructure sharing is not necessarily a black eye for the community.

That's according to Kyle Ham, the head of the Economic Development Council.

Nelson Pavlovsky / Flickr

As central Illinois leaders try to assess the magnitude of Caterpillar, Incorporated's announcement they are moving top corporate leadership to the Chicago area, there are no sure answers.

Kyle Ham heads the Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council.

Staff / WGLT

Skepticism and opposition surfaced quickly on social media after economic incentives were announced to attract Rivian Automotive to the former Mitsubishi auto manufacturing plant.  The Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, the Town of Normal, and Mayor Chris Koos helped lead the effort to pass an incentive package which includes property tax abatements from area taxing bodies. 

The Mayor of Normal said twin cities officials checked into negative news reports about Rivian Automotive and there is nothing there.

Koos made the case for proceeding with a million dollar cash grant and five year tax abatement to encourage Rivian to buy the former Mitsubishi plant.

Rivian Automotive.

State and Bloomington-Normal Economic Development officials have found a probable buyer for the former Mitsubishi Auto plant.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

After a year plus at the helm of State Farm Insurance, CEO Michael Tipsord took his act public in McLean County with a guided q and a at an Economic Development Council dinner. Tipsord repeated what his predecessor, now retired Chairman Ed Rust Junior said often in his closing years.

"The corporate headquarters of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company will remain in Bloomington-Normal," said Tipsord.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The industrial salvage company that owns the closed Mitsubishi plant in Normal has put off an auction to break up the equipment, building, and furniture.

This is the third delay for the auction originally scheduled for August. The latest date had been the 18th of October.

Creative Commons

The first anniversary of the announcement of the closure of the Mitsubishi Auto plant in Normal is this weekend.

GLT is revisiting the several former workers we've followed since then.

Ralph Weisheit

Bloomington's mayor said a sales tax sharing proposal is "dead, in the short term at least" after a majority of aldermen decided against further discussions. 

However, Mayor Tari Renner said the proposal could resurface after the April 2017 municipal elections.

Michael Allen Smith / Creative Commons

Count the McLean County Chamber of Commerce and the Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council among the interest groups on board a proposed sales tax sharing agreement in the twin cities.

Ralph Weisheit

A development entity is urging the Bloomington and Normal City Councils to talk about a sales tax revenue sharing agreement.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The task force working to find a buyer for the former Mitsubishi auto manufacturing plant is continuing to field inquires. An upcoming trip to an international industrial trade show in Germany could increase interest.

BN EDC

The latest quarterly snapshot of the Bloomington-Normal economy shows strong overhaul health, but there is concern about one area--stagnant job growth.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council is readying its annual trip to Washington D.C. 39 members of various groups will pay their own way to the nation's capitol to meet with elected officials and agency workers about the priorities of the region.

MMNA, Inc.

Though property tax receipts from the soon to be vacant Mitsubishi auto plant will likely take a hit for area governments, some public officials say they are hopeful home values will not go down much, if at all. About half the 12-hundred workers at the Mitsubishi plant live in Bloomington Normal. McLean County Board Chair Matt Sorenson says analysis suggests many will remain in town.

Urban Land Institute

One of top urban planners in the U. S. gives high marks to the way Normal planned its uptown redevelopment. Tom Murphy, former Pittsburgh mayor and now with the Urban Land Institute, says the neighboring Marriott and Hyatt hotels are obviously a part of a well-thought out plan.

A minor point of philosophy turned into a change in how the McLean County Board supports the B-N Advantage economic development program. Instead of that specific program sponsored by the Economic Development Council, Board Member Paul Segobiano said it was important to change to support the "concept" of development.

The report contains items like an east side highway project and a downtown Bloomington Hotel. Kyle Ham of the EDC said the language change was unimportant.

The head of the effort to rescue use of the Mitsubishi Plant says there have been some nibbles on a buyer. Kyle Ham heads both the Economic Development Council for Bloomington Normal and the Mitsubishi Task Force.

"I am personally aware of automakers that are looking at the facility and have begun to do the due diligence process."

Ham says the plant has not been on the market that long and possible buyers have a lot of work to do.