Navistar Steps Back

Navistar had promised more than 3,000 new jobs to the Naperville area with its planned move to the vacant Alcatel Lucent Campus in Lisle, but that move is no more. The diesel trucking and defense company has withdrawn from Lisle Planning and Zoning Commission hearings regarding relocating its world headquarters to the sprawling property at 2600 Warrenville Road. After spending more than $200,000 on consulting and legal fees, Navistar is pulling back on a plan it saw as a perfect fit.

“We saw this vision for this new world headquarters and a research and development facility,” said Navistar Chief Information Officer Don Sharp. “With it (were) going to be all kinds of benefits to the community. We saw it as a win for everybody, and now that’s not (going to) happen.”

But Navistar said the Village of Lisle’s hearing process had gotten out of control.

“There’s been a lot of misguided lawsuits,” said Sharp. “One had already been filed, others had been threatened. A lot of things within the process that leave us to believe there’s no clear end in sight.”

The company’s announcement sent shockwaves through the business community and local governments, who were eager for new jobs and a bump to the local economy.

“I’m hoping we can get this back on track,” said Robert Fieseler, Naperville City Councilman. “I think I speak on behalf of everybody on the City Council and the Mayor when I say we’re (going to) try to do everything we can to keep Navistar in the region and prosper as a company with all our help.”

Navistar and its community supporters feel the project has been derailed by a small group of neighbors opposed to the project.

Neighbors like Richard Wilkie, a concerned Lisle resident who has kept an eye on the project from the beginning. Wilkie has had many concerns about the project since it was first presented nearly a year ago. He says he would support the project if Navistar would commit in writing to keeping only the six diesel engine testing bays that are slated in the current proposal.

Even with the company’s recent announcement, Wilkie is not convinced he’s heard the last from Navistar.

“I think (the Alcatel Lucent Campus) was always the target ground for this thing,” said Wilkie. “This is probably posturing and looking for more support from both the community as well as the politicians that they already have said in the paper they’re (going to) go see.”

However, even with people like Wilkie who are skeptical, for now, the move is off and Navistar says will take a step back and reevaluate its options for a new world headquarters.

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