Brian Liston Explains How Cook County Is Helping Spur Industrial Development
If you haven't heard, Chicago is in the midst of the golden age of industrial real estate. Although regulations that vary by suburb are slowing down future growth, one government agency is stepping in to keep the momentum going.
The Cook County Board will vote in the next 60 days on a three-year pilot program aimed at spurring industrial growth in the market. Brian Liston, partner at the Law Offices of Liston & Tsantillis (snapped with Inland Mortgage Capital president Art Rendak at our summertime schmooze in July) recently testified before the board in favor of the legislation and shared details with Bisnow.
If approved, the program would remove obstacles to industrial development and simplify the zoning process so landowners could expedite industrial development. The board identified seven target areas (shown) in southern and western Cook County where industrial growth should be encouraged. The county and city also announced a partnership with the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association to lead a new site certification program that would speed up the development of underserved properties.
One of the most notable advantages of this legislation: It would allow suburban municipalities to streamline the development process. Instead of requiring a full vote from a town’s board, a project can be green-lighted if a village authorizes a government official to issue a letter in support of the incentive. This will reduce the time and steps needed to obtain or renew tax incentives. Another aspect of the legislation Brian likes is a plan to offer grants up to $130k for landowners in the growth areas to pay for environmental assessments and remediation.
Arguably the most important wrinkle in the ordinance is one that states villages can request the end of tax incentives before the incentive’s full term, if a property returns to blighted condition or if a developer breaks an agreement. Brian says this is a test case by the county to grant villages more control over how incentives are meted out. This aspect of the legislation aims to ensure that redevelopment agreements are well-crafted and detail what is expected from both sides through the course of the incentive.