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:
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