Blackhawks' owner expands beverage company in Lexington

By WEEK Producer

June 12, 2013 Updated Jun 12, 2013 at 10:39 PM CDT

LEXINGTON, Ill. -- It’s a big day for Rocky Wirtz, a few hours before his Chicago Blackhawks open the Stanley Cup Finals against Boston his Wirtz Beverage Company announced the already ongoing development of a new distribution center in Lexington.

“We'll use this facility to off-load merchandise we get from Cicero, which is our main warehouse, and ship it throughout the rest of the state,” said Wirtz.

The new 14-acre Lexington site will open early next year and employ about 100 people and there will be a domino effect.

The Wirtz Beverage facility currently in Peoria will be closed. According to a company official, the new location just off Interstate 55 is logistically more appealing and so are the tax incentives they were offered.

“Lexington provided us with a set of incentives that are generally described as tax increment financing which basically enabled the site and the development,” said Anthony Iatarola, senior vice president of Wirtz Realty Group.

“This city is going to reimburse Wirtz Beverage 75-percent of the property taxes and we're going to keep 25-percent of the property taxes,” said Lexington Mayor John Mohr.

When complete, the $8 million facility will have 35,000 square feet of warehouse space and another 15,000 square feet of offices but there's a second phase. One of the project managers says it’s being built with the idea of future expansion and that could mean additional business development nearby.

“We're hopeful that we can attract some more retail and other commercial businesses in that area,” said Mohr.

But first, there's a Stanley Cup Finals series to play.

“It makes it more fun because you don't know what to expect,” said Wirtz. “I mean you can read about them and they can read about us but you never know what happens until you start playing.”

Wirtz is convinced he is building another winner in Lexington