The best-selling novel The Bridges of Madison County may have put Madison County, Iowa, on the map, but Madison County, Illinois, is now gaining attention for being a hotbed for distribution centers.
Madison County, just east of St. Louis, is home to the Gateway Commerce Center, a $250 million, 7.5-million square-foot warehouse and distribution facility that has attracted Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Hershey Foods, and Dial Corp. Real estate developer Trammell Crow owns a majority stake, and is building additional space on spec now to accommodate the robust growth. Another DC under development on a 600-acre site a few miles away near Edwardsville, IL,is owned by Panattoni Development Co. A third facility in the works in nearby Dupo, IL, will be owned by Clayco, which built facilities for Coldwater Creek and Touch of Class. North America’s biggest freight trucking company, Schneider of Green Bay, WI, plans to build a hub operation nearby, making it the third or fourth trucker to do so.
Why is Madison County such a haven for distribution centers? For one, there’s the comparatively less expensive land and real estate taxes in Illinois. It’s also a location where four major Interstates–55, 70, 64 and 44–converge, as well as three major rivers (the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois). Plus, the St. Louis area has 14 active ports and more than 100 docking facilities extending 70 miles along the Illinois and Missouri banks. What’s more, the Madison County region is within one day’s drive of 60 percent of the U.S. population. Just don’t look for the covered bridges.