DOWNERS GROVE – A proposal by FlavorChem Corp. to create a corporate campus by closing Brook Drive in the Oak Grove Business Park was met with opposition from neighboring companies in the park.
FlavorChem, a manufacturer of flavor and color solutions for the food and beverage industries, has eight buildings in the business park, which is located north of Butterfield Road.
The company has petitioned the village of Downers Grove to close Brook Drive between Centre Circle and Downers Drive. The street currently bisects the FlavorChem complex, preventing the creation of a unified campus.
If approved, the village would maintain ownership of the road. The Downers Grove Village Council is expected to vote on the proposal at its Sept. 12 meeting.
Closing Brook Drive would allow employees to more easily walk across the campus and create an opportunity for additional parking. The company also plans to redesign, expand and improve the facilities, said Stan Popovich, Downers Grove community development director.
“Creating an interconnected [campus] for FlavorChem is what’s being proposed,” Popovich said at the Sept. 5 Village Council meeting.
Brook Drive is currently used by local businesses to access their buildings and by residents as a cut-through, avoiding the intersection of Finley and Butterfield roads.
The Plan Commission voted 6-1 against the proposal.
“I’m very excited about this creative solution,” Mayor Martin Tully said.
Representatives from other companies in the business park did not share the mayor’s enthusiasm. They maintained Brook Drive should not be closed to benefit one company.
“We’re glad to see them expanding but not at our expense,” said Michael O’Connor, an attorney for United States Brass and Copper, 1401 Brook Drive. “Vacating Brook Drive will have a tremendous negative impact on all the other businesses in this subdivision.”
O’Connor added Brook Drive provides important access for other companies in the business park.
“They’re not paying for the land,” O’Connor said. “You really need to think hard about this.”
He added closing the street will force more traffic to Downers Drive and Butterfield Road, thereby leading to more accidents.
“These are dangerous intersections that are just going to be made more dangerous,” O’Connor said.
Steve Geisler, co-owner of a business in the park, also opposed the proposal.
“Brook Drive in front of our building would become FlavorChem Drive,” Geisler said. “We want to be treated fairly, and we don’t think that’s the case here.”
FlavorChem moved to Downers Grove from Bellwood in 1981. The family-owned and operated company employs about 250 people.