Mall site slated for de­vel­op­ment

Land once slated for Chicagoland Out­lets set to be used for ware­house-dis­tri­bu­tion space

Daily Southtown (Sunday) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mike Nolan

A Chicago-based com­pany said it will build 1.4 mil­lion square feet of ware­house-dis­tri­bu­tion space on land in Coun­try Club Hills where plans for an out­let mall had lan­guished for more than a decade.

Lo­gis­tics Prop­erty Co. said it plans to start work this spring on LogiPark 57-80 on a 102-acre site at the in­ter­change of In­ter­states 80 and 57.

The project is be­ing helped by $28 mil­lion in tax in­cen­tives that the com­pany hopes will off­set its prop­erty tax dis­ad­van­tage by be­ing lo­cated in Cook County and near lower-tax ar­eas, such as Will County, which has seen tremen­dous amounts of lo­gis­tics de­vel­op­ment.

“It’s go­ing to bring jobs and ad­di­tional de­vel­op­ment to the com­mu­nity,” Coun­try Club Hills Mayor James Ford said. “The res­i­dents of Coun­try Club Hills have wanted to see some­thing hap­pen there. It’s some­thing we’ve been look­ing for­ward to.”

What res­i­dents, and any­one driv­ing on I-80, have been see­ing for the last few years is a large elec­tronic bill­board ad­ver­tis­ing Chicagoland Out­lets.

First pro­posed in the sum­mer of 2007, the re­tail cen­ter was to have 50 name-brand stores and 400,000 to 500,000 square feet of re­tail space, restau­rants and other ten­ants. The first phase of the cen­ter was ex­pected to open in 2009.

Dif­fi­culty in leas­ing, par­tic­u­larly in snar­ing large re­tail­ers that would draw traf­fic to the cen­ter, forced the prop­erty own-

ers, in­clud­ing Capri Cap­i­tal Part­ners, to re­con­sider their op­tions, and in 2017 be­gan pur­su­ing an in­dus­trial-fo­cused de­vel­op­ment, a spokesman for the prop­erty own­ers told the Daily South­town at the time.

Ford said Coun­try Club Hills of­fi­cials had been talk­ing with Lo­gis­tics Prop­erty Co. for about three months, and the com­pany closed on the land, south­east of the in­ter­change of I-57 and 167th Street, late last month.

The site is south­west of a Wal­mart-an­chored shop­ping cen­ter on 167th and Mar­cus’ Coun­try Club Hills Cin­ema.

Lo­gis­tics Prop­erty Co. will in­vest about $80 mil­lion inthe de­vel­op­ment and hopes to have the first of four build­ings ready for oc­cu­pancy by spring ofnext year, ac­cord­ing to Aaron Martell, the firm’s ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent for the Mid­west re­gion.

He said the site’s prox­im­ity to two in­ter­states and Cana­dian Na­tional Rail­way’s in­ter­modal ter­mi­nal five miles to the east is “huge for us,” and “it’s an amenity-rich en­vi­ron­ment (for busi­nesses that will lo­cate there) with nearby restau­rants, shops and a movie theater.”

Martell said he ex­pects LogiPark 57-80 would ap­peal to “con­sumer prod­uct com­pa­nies, e- re­tail­ers,” with busi­nesses lo­cat­ing there cre­at­ing per­haps as many as 300 jobs.

Formed last year and work­ing in part­ner­ship with Mac­quarie Cap­i­tal Real Es­tate In­vest­ments, Lo­gis­tics Prop­erty cur­rently man­ages prop­er­ties in mar­kets in­clud­ing Chicago, Dal­las and Hous­ton, and ex­pects to close on the ac­qui­si­tion of ad­di­tional prop­er­ties in the Mid­west, South and North­west re­gions of the coun­try.

Last Oc­to­ber, it broke ground on a 1-mil­lion­square-foot lo­gis­tics project in Kenosha, Wis., a few miles from the planned $10 bil­lion Fox­conn man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity.

The Coun­try Club Hills prop­erty is in a tax in­cre­ment fi­nanc­ing dis­trict es­tab­lished when the out­let mall­was ini­tially planned.

Within a TIF, in­cre­men­tal in­creases in the as­sessed value of the prop­erty from de­vel­op­ment, and cor­re­spond­ing in­creases in prop­erty tax rev­enue, can be used to pay for pub­lic im­prove­ments or re­im­burs­ing a de­vel­oper for mak­ing im­prove­ments, such as streets and util­i­ties. TIFs gen­er­ally have a life­span of 23 years.

The TIF is cur­rently due to end at the close of 2031, but Martell said his com­pany is work­ing with city of­fi­cials to ex­tend the TIF an­other dozen years, which would pro­vide a prop­erty tax off­set to busi­nesses in the park.

The site also car­ries a tax in­cen­tive that low­ers the as­sess­ment level to that of what res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties are as­sessed at, which makes the prop­erty com­pet­i­tive, from a tax stand­point, with­Will and sites in north­west In­di­ana, he said.

When Chicagoland Out­lets was first pro­posed, re­tail de­vel­op­ment was still chug­ging along at a steady pace, but the re­ces­sion cre­ated strong head­winds for the mall as re­tail­ers scaled back or halted ex­pan­sion plans.

Once plans for the out­let mall were shelved and the prop­erty own­ers looke­dat a light- in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment op­tion, the elec­tronic bill­board on I-80, in­stead of tout­ing the mall, flashed a mes­sage to pass­ing ve­hi­cles about “A ma­jor new de­vel­op­ment planned for this lo­ca­tion” that will bring “com­mu­nity in­vest­ment, eco­nomic re­vi­tal­iza­tion” and jobs.

Ford said that even after the Lo­gis­tics Prop­erty site is de­vel­oped, more than 100 acres re­mains avail­able for de­vel­op­ment. He said that the de­vel­op­ment of the lo­gis­tics park could spur other busi­nesses to open nearby, such as restau­rants, that would cater to ware­house work­ers.

LO­GIS­TICS PROP­ERTY CO.

A ren­der­ing of a ware­house dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter planned by Lo­gis­tics Prop­erty Co. in Coun­try Club Hills at the in­ter­change of in­ter­states 80 and 57. The site was pre­vi­ously be­ing con­sid­ered for an out­let mall.

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