As it Gears Up for Automotive Boom, One County Braces for Housing Boom

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With thousands of new jobs rolling in at the expanded Daimler Chrysler plant and nearby supply companies, there's expectations a big housing boom is on the way in Boone County.

"Obviously it's very exciting for the city. Anytime you have such a large expansion of employment, it's very beneficial for the area," Adam Tegen said.

Adam Tegen of the Belvidere-Boone County Planning Department is an extremely busy man these days. His agency is carving out which land will shape Belvidere's housing future. Tegen says it's important the real estate market remains affordable for automotive workers and others relocating to the area and wanting to buy.

"For that type of wage in the Chrysler plant, what you're seeing and what you have been seeing in the city is that type of residential growth for housing in the 150, 250 (thousand dollar) range," Tegen said.

Tegen points out that while Boone County has a bunch of subdivisions ready, the Belvidere area also has plenty of affordable lots on the market.

"You have upwards of a 1,000 preliminary platted lots. You've got several hundred that are already final platted, so you have that housing market that's ready to go and that will continue," Tegen said.

And while there are many possibilities, Tegen says there is a plan outlining what fits and what doesn't fit in Belvidere's bigger picture.

"Trying to balance the growth is what we're looking at, making sure we are growing smart. We're not just accepting any old development. We are making sure we are making development pay for itself as much as possible, and getting the highest quality of growth we can," Tegen said.

Most Midwestern cities would love to have Belvidere's growth worries, growth area leaders are still approaching with caution.

Belvidere's Daimler Chrysler plant is scheduled to re-open fully this January. Illinois' director of commerce and economic opportunity estimates that Belvidere's Daimler Chrysler expansion will pump an added $200 million a year into the state's economy. The leader of Rockford Area Association of Realtors says the expansion is good news for new housing across the Stateline.