Tag: City of Chicago

Industrial Growth Zones Created

The City of Chicago and Cook County recently announced the creation of an “Industrial Growth Zone” initiative in order to encourage industrial development in seven designated Chicagoland neighborhoods.  These neighborhoods are principally located in existing industrial areas on the south and west sides of the City.  The program is intended to incentivize industrial development in these neighborhoods by removing barriers to further development and by providing services to support property owners and industrial developers in their development efforts.  Specifically, the services to be provided are aimed at two primary impediments to development: evaluation and remediation of environmental conditions and maneuvering complex governmental regulations.

Much of the land located within the Industrial Growth Zone program has been previously developed and used for industrial purposes.  Accordingly, to redevelop these properties, a developer will first need to conduct a Phase I environmental site assessment and, depending on the identification of recognized environmental conditions, to perform some level of environmental remediation.  This can constitute a significant barrier to development as the cost to conduct the required testing and the possible costs associated with remediating hazardous environmental conditions may be substantial both in terms of costs and delays in commencing construction.  The Industrial Growth Zone initiative will provide qualified developers up to $130,000 of financial assistance for environmental evaluation and remediation efforts.  Specifically, developers may be eligible for $5,000 to update an existing Phase I environmental report and up to $25,000 to conduct a Phase II report.  Additional funds in the amount of $100,000 may be available to remediate environmental conditions.

Additionally, the initiative will establish a “concierge” program.  The concierge will serve as a single point of contact for providing assistance to developers in conducting site evaluation and working their way through voluminous and complex layers of governmental regulations and requirements.  The concierge will assist in making available a broad range of site data and documentation required in connection with the development of properties.  This data includes, among other things, zoning maps, aerial photos, surveys, ownership and real estate tax history, analysis of utility availability, flood plain classification, and providing information regarding the presence of wetlands and endangered species.  Having access to this information at the early stages of the development process will save a developer time and effort in conducting its due diligence, evaluating the suitability of a property for development, and commencing the process of obtaining required governmental approvals.

For further information regarding Industrial Growth Zones, real estate development and related issues, please contact:

Jeffrey M. Galkin at:

jgalkin@lgattorneys.com or 312-368-0100.

Cook County Raises Minimum Wage

On October 26, 2016, the Cook County Board passed an ordinance to gradually increase the minimum wage to $13.00 per hour by 2020. The Cook County Board’s action follows the lead of the City of Chicago which in 2014 passed an ordinance to gradually increase the minimum wage in Chicago to $13.00 per hour by 2019.

The first increase is effective July 1, 2017, raising the minimum wage from $8.25 to $10.00 per hour. The minimum wage will increase again on July 1, 2018, to $11.00 per hour; on July 1, 2019, to $12.00 per hour; and on July 1, 2020, to $13 per hour. The ordinance applies to any business or individual that employs at least one employee who performs at least two hours of work in any two-week period while physically present within the geographical boundaries of Cook County, with limited exceptions.

The ordinance also requires Cook County employers to provide notice to their employees regarding their rights under the ordinance, including: (i) conspicuously posting a notice at each facility within Cook County; and (ii) providing a written notice to employees with their first paycheck issued after July 1, 2017.

Employers are subject to significant penalties for non-compliance with the ordinance, including, but not limited to, fines in the amount of $500 to $1,000 per each day of non-compliance. The ordinance also establishes a private cause of action for employees who may recover damages against an employer in an amount equal to three times the amount of any underpayment, in addition to the employee’s attorneys’ fees and costs. An employer’s failure to comply with the ordinance may also violate other laws including the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, Illinois Minimum Wage Law, and Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which also provide for an employee’s recovery of damages, interest and attorneys’ fees.

If you have any questions regarding the minimum wage applicable to your business or your obligations under the new Cook County Ordinance, please contact:

Kristen E. O’Neill at:

koneill@lgattorneys.com or 312-368-0100.

Reminder: City of Chicago Personal Property Lease Transaction Tax Increase

The City of Chicago municipal ordinance imposes a tax on the lease or rental of certain personal property used in the City of Chicago. As of January 1, 2015, the personal property lease transaction tax rate increased to 9% of receipts or charges (up from 8%). The liability for payment of the tax is on the lessee, while the duty to remit the tax to the City is on the lessor.

Personal property subject to the tax includes all property, other than real property, including, but not limited to, motor and other vehicles, construction equipment, household and office equipment, clothing, computing and electronic equipment, sporting and gaming equipment, and lease time on equipment not otherwise itself rented.

The ordinance sets forth certain exemptions to the personal property lease transaction tax. Governmental, charitable, educations, and religious organizations are exempt from the tax.  Additionally, there are twelve types of exempt leases:

  1. Property leased outside the City that is primarily used outside the City;
  2. Property that is leased from a party subject to the City’s occupation taxes;
  3. Leases of “rolling stock” in interstate commerce by an interstate carrier for hire;
  4. Leases of property where the rental price is paid by inserting one or more coins or bills of U.S. currency into an attached mechanism;
  5. Leases of medical equipment or appliances for the purpose of correcting or treating parts of his or her own body;
  6. The lease of a ground transportation vehicle if the lessor is subject to the ground transportation tax;
  7. Leases of property where the lessor and lessee are members of the same related group. “Related” means companies under a parent corporation/person that owns 100% of the voting stock of subsidiaries either directly or indirectly;
  8. Leases by a membership organization to a member of such membership organization;
  9. The nonpossessory lease of computers involving clearing of stock transactions ;
  10. The nonpossessory lease of a computer used to deposit, withdraw, transfer, or lend money or securities (i.e., ATM machines, banking transactions);
  11. The nonpossessory computer lease in which the customer’s use or control of the computer is de minimis and the related charge is predominantly for information transferred (i.e., the nonpossessory lease of a computer to receive current price quotations); and
  12. Lease of motion picture film by theaters (which are subject to the City Amusement Tax).

If your business involves the lease or rental of personal property used in the City of Chicago it is important to know whether your business transactions are subject to the personal property lease transaction tax. The City of Chicago Department of Finance can impose fines and penalties on individuals and businesses that fail to pay the required tax.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this issue, please contact:

Kristen E. O’Neill at:

(312) 368-0100 or koneill@lgattorneys.com.

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