Navistar's headquarters to stay in Illinois

September 8, 2010 (LISLE, Ill.)

A new banner waved proudly outside the gleaming office park in Lisle, a 1.2 million square foot complex that has become Navistar's future.

The truck and engine maker's moving its world headquarters to Lisle means it's bringing with it more than 3,000 business, engineering, and construction jobs.

"They picked our state over other states. We're their home. They're creating jobs, retaining jobs," Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said.

It was all smiles and applause Wednesday, but the more than year-long effort to move Navistar's offices to Lisle from its current complex in Warrenville was often contentious. The plan hit a snag when a small but steadfast group of Lisle residents voiced their opposition to the move, citing environmental and zoning concerns.

Residents like Marylynn Zajdel were against a proposed engine-testing facility.

"From a zoning perspective, in the community in Lisle, and the type of community we have here, that type of facility really doesn't belong," Zajdel said.

After months of debate, Navistar threatened to leave Illinois, but state officials brokered a deal offering generous tax breaks and other incentives.

"We were going a different way, and the community came to us and said, 'Come on, we want you here,'" Dan Ustian, CEO, Navistar.

Navistar, in turn, agreed to put its engine plant elsewhere. It may end up at a Melrose Park facility.

"It was a team effort, and even the residents, I think from day one they recognized the importance of having Navistar here in Lisle, here in DuPage County, here in Illinois," said Atty. General Lisa Madigan.

When asked if she felt pressured to reach a compromise, Zajdel said, "No, not at all."

"I hope they stay for a long time, hope they take care of the campus and become an asset to the community," she told ABC7 Chicago.

Neighborhood ribbons that once meant opposition to Navistar became a symbol of compromise and unity Wednesday, the end of a long, bumpy road for this century-old truck maker.

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