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.   

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.

Development projects underway or recently completed include:

Development Projects


Facebook Data Center - On June 30, 2020 it was announced that Facebook will be constructing a 970,000 sq. ft. data center with an option to expand on 505 acres of property generally located east of Rt. 23 and south of Gurler Road in the I-88 Corridor. The data center project is a transformative industrial development that will impact generations of DeKalb County residents. The facility will be Facebook's 16th data center worldwide. The City staff, the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation, and state officials worked together to make this project possible. Facebook expects to add approximately 1,000 construction jobs during the buildout over the next two years and 100 permanent jobs when the first phase is fully operational. In addition to jobs, Facebook DeKalb will be 100% powered by renewable energy and will be LEED Gold certified upon completion.


Ferrara Candy Company - Construction started in the summer of 2019 on a 1,222,400 square foot food distribution center and a 466,560 square foot packing center for the Ferrara Candy Company. The 343 acre site is located along Gurler Road, south of I-88. The project will eventually employ 1,000. The distribution facility will be occupied by the end of 2020 and the packing center will be open by the spring of 2021.

Plaza Dekalb

Plaza DeKalb - The construction of the Plaza DeKalb mixed-use project started in 2018 and is another transformative project in the downtown area. The four-story building at the northeast corner of E. Lincoln Highway and N. Second Street includes commercial uses on the first floor, and 23 luxury apartment units on the upper floors. The project also includes a restaurant, several personal services uses and two luxury apartment units. The six million dollar project included a total of 1.9 million in TIF funding assistance.


Home2 Suites Hotel - In the summer of 2019 work on a four-story Home2 Suites Hotel commenced along South Annie Glidden Road in close proximity to NIU. The hotel will feature 90 rooms and provide the community with a mid-to-higher tier, extended stay hotel that will include a conference room and indoor pool. The hotel should be open by September of 2020.

Egyptian Theatre

Egyptian Theatre - In March 2019, the City Council approved final plans and a development incentive agreement for the historic Egyptian Theatre to allow for a proposed expansion and upgrades to the 90-year old facility. The expansion is on the south end of the building and includes an air conditioning system and expanded restroom and concession facilities. The improvements will allow for year-round programming for the first time in the theater’s history. Construction commenced in May 2019 with a total project cost of $5.5 million and $2.5 million in TIF assistance. The project was completed in 2020.

Agora Tower

Agora Tower - In September 2019 the City Council approved the zoning and plans for a four-story mixed-use development at the northeast corner of E. Locust St. and N. Fourth Street. The project will feature 94 one and two-bedroom apartment units and approximately 12,000 sq. ft. of commercial space on the ground floor. Demolition of the existing building on site was completed in late 2019 and construction on the new building began in the summer of 2020 with completion set for the end of 2021. The total project cost will be about $13.8 million with $3 million in TIF assistance.

El Jima

El Jimador Mexican Grill is set to open at 260 E. Lincoln Highway in the former O'Leary's Restaurant building by the end of August 2020. Renovation on the building has been occurring since the early summer of 2020 and will be complete around Labor Day of 2020. Remodeling work includes interior and exterior renovations, new flooring, and additional seating. The outdoor seating area along S. Third St. will be maintained. The total project cost is $689,100 with $124,100 in TIF assistance awarded by the City.

Raising Canes

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers Restaurant - A 3,357 sq. ft. Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers Restaurant with a drive-through and outdoor eating area is under construction at 2411 Sycamore Road. Raising Cane’s is a national fast-food restaurant chain specializing in chicken fingers that is based out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The company has about 450 restaurants in 27 states.

Isaac Tower

Isaac Executive Suites - Approved in June 2020, Isaac Suites will be a four-story building that will contain 59 executive suites and ground-level commercial space with a banquet/conference room and exercise room. The mixed-use building will be located on a 2.5-acre site at the southwest corner of Sycamore Road and Oakland Drive. All the units will be one-bedroom and fully furnished with leases ranging from four to seven months. The suites will serve people that are in the area for a period longer than a hotel stay but do not want to sign a one-year lease agreement.


Former Eduardo's Mexican Restaurant Building - Renovation began in the summer of 2020 at the former Eduardo’s Restaurant Building at 206 E. Lincoln Highway. Extensive remodeling on the second floor is occurring to create four luxury apartment units. In February 2020 the City Council approved $216,800 in TIF funding for a project that totaled $542,000 in estimated construction cost. There is space on the ground floor for commercial uses.