Economic Development

As the western anchor to the booming I-88 Corridor, DeKalb, Illinois is only a little more than an hour from both downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport.  Despite its proximity to the Chicago region, DeKalb remains apart and maintains its own unique character as a thriving community with both urban and rural roots.  DeKalb has a history and culture of innovation and captures the spirit of days gone by in a variety of ways while embracing the future.  From historic landmarks to new and remodeled facilities, there is much to explore and enjoy in this vibrant northern Illinois destination boasting historical architectural gems, national and local entertainment, as well as abundant shopping, dining and award-winning recreation.

Originally known as the “Barb City’, where barbed wire was invented, the City of DeKalb has evolved from a primarily manufacturing and agribusiness town to a community which is recognized for its commitment to economic and environmental sustainability, a variety of cultural and entertainment opportunities, and  regional leadership in educational and medical resources.  These are the primary reasons why DeKalb has steadily grown to a full-service community of about 43,000.

As the home to Northern Illinois University, the DeKalb area offers a unique environment that complements and enhances the lifestyle of DeKalb residents and visitors. Excellent educational partnership offerings between Kishwaukee College, NIU, and DeKalb High School provide a full range of career paths.  In addition, a full-service Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau, and County Economic Development Corporation are working together to grow our community.

In 2020, two international companies, Ferrara Candy Company and Facebook, announced transformative investments in the DeKalb community along the I-88 corridor. Facebook is investing over $800 million in the initial phase of a new data center, and Ferrara is investing more than $100 million in a new distribution center and packing center totaling about 1.6 million square feet. The combined investment of these initial phase commitments will increase the industrial EAV of DeKalb County by about 12% upon full build-out.

Additionally, there is continuing significant investment in DeKalb’s downtown core, most notably Agora Tower ($13 million) and the redevelopment of the former City Hall property ($5.3 million), will provide additional growth and diversity to the community tax base and employment levels.

 Whether you visit for business or pleasure, you will have plenty of options when you make DeKalb your destination.  We invite you to take a step back and surround yourself with the beauty of an active university town that truly reflects the warmth and charm for which the Midwest is famous.

To view a list of recent and on-going Development Projects, click here.

"Facebook Data Center"