Preliminary plans for a significant expansion of a private-label manufacturer of pizza and other foods have received informal support from the Wheeling village board.
Richelieu Foods Inc. wants to construct a 27,687-square-foot addition north of its current Palatine Road operation, Wheeling Interim Director of Community Development Michael D'Onofrio said. The new structure near Abbott Drive would accommodate production for a new pizza topping line, he said.
Village board trustees signaled their early support following a review of the company's concept at a recent meeting. The elected officials will get the final say on the proposed project after the advisory plan commission issues a recommendation.
"I think it's a great idea that you guys are expanding and I'm really excited that you are. Pizza capital of the world!" Trustee Ray Lang said to Richelieu Foods representatives.
Richelieu Foods came to Wheeling amid great fanfare when former Gov. Bruce Rauner cut a ribbon to open the company's new 115,000-square-foot processing plant in September 2016. The company, which makes private-label salad dressings, sauces and pizza, renovated a facility at 120 W. Palatine Road that Orval Kent Food Co. vacated in 2013.
At least 100 employees were projected for Richelieu Foods' facility. D'Onofrio said Tuesday that the company has not yet provided to Wheeling any data on the number of new employees who may be necessary for the addition.
Massachusetts-based Richelieu will move on the Wheeling plan commission, but a date is not yet known because meetings have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, D'Onofrio said. He said the company must file an application for a special-use permit and go through site plan and appearance reviews.
Richelieu wants to build three docks for semitrailers as part of the expansion. The company also plans a 38-space employee parking lot.
Founded in 1862, Richelieu Foods services customers in retail and food service in the United States and Canada.