Chicagoland real estate roundup: Tax hikes loom, Arlington 425 project approved and more

by Timothy Inklebarger

Real estate industry on tax hike: ‘Let’s get it over with’

Industry leaders are calling newly-elected Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi and Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot to get moving on anticipated property tax increases. It may seem odd to ask for higher taxes, but Matt Fiascone said uncertainty can be worse than reality at a recent Connect Chicago conference. “The sooner we can get to reality, the better off we’ll be,” the president of developer Habitat Companies said according to an article in The Real Deal. Some of the concern stems from property tax assessments this year in the northern suburbs, where tax valuations doubled in some cases for high-end apartment buildings. Another concern topping the list of industry watchers is Lightfoot’s campaign promise to end so-called aldermanic privilege, an unwritten rule that gives aldermen control over zoning changes in their wards.

Arlington Heights approves new mixed-use development

The Village of Arlington Heights is poised to get its largest development in two decades, following unanimous approval by its board of trustees this week, according to the Daily Herald Business Ledger. The $150 million Arlington 425 project by developer Bruce Adreani of CCH, LLC includes a four-story, 54-unit residential building; a nine-story, 182-unit mixed-use apartment building; a 13-story, 125-unit apartment building; and a six-story parking garage. Eighteen of the 361 units will be priced at 60 percent of area median income, and the developer will contribute a combined $225,000 to an affordable housing fund to take the place of the nine other units required to be constructed.

Urban Land Institute names Chicago tower finalist

One of the West Loop’s newest towers, 150 North Riverside, has been named a finalist in the Urban Land Institute’s 2019 ULI Global Awards for Excellence. ULI notes that the 54-story tower by developer Riverside Investment & Development and designer Goettsch Partners, which takes up what was a 25,000-square-foot lot “includes 1.5 acres of landscaped public park and 360 feet of riverwalk frontage, giving over an unprecedented 75 percent of the two-acre lot to public space without public funding assistance.” Construction of the LEED Gold-certified building used 15 percent recycled materials and diverted 99 percent of its waste from landfills; systems also capture 90 percent of the rainwater onsite. 

Home construction slowing on Chicago’s North Side

A number of issues, including a sluggish real estate market and potentially rising property taxes, have slowed single-family home construction in North Side neighborhoods in the first four months of 2019, according to a report from Crain’s Chicago Business. Building permits for single-family homes totaled 100 during that period, down from 160 during the same period in the previous year. Sabina Szura, partner with her sister Joanna Szura in Lakeview-based PLD Homes, tells Crain’s that land costs have gone up in neighborhoods like Lakeview and Lincoln Park. Rising construction costs are also a factor, as well as concern about the financial health of the city, state and county.

Mobile app provides greater safety for agents

The Mainstreet Organization of Realtors, the largest Realtor Association in Illinois, has partnered with Forewarn LLC to provide an added level of safety for the 17,000-plus members it serves. Forewarn will offer a mobile app that gives users the ability to enter a phone number prior to showings and allow agents and brokers to verify identities, search criminal histories and validate financial information before they meet potential clients.

Illinois losing population, according to U.S. Census 

The U.S. Census Bureau has released its annual population estimates, showing a net domestic out-migration of 8.9 people per 1,000 residents in Illinois from July 2017 to July 2018. That’s the third highest domestic out-migration rate of all 50 states, following Alaska at -14.6 and New York at -9.2. George Masnick, senior research fellow at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, notes in a report that the Census report reveals a substantial racial and ethnic change in almost every state. “Notably, the data show that while the minority population increased in every state, the non-Hispanic white population fell in 24 states,” he wrote, adding that the declines were largest in California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Minority population growth more than offset the decline in non-Hispanic white population in 20 of the 24 states, except for Connecticut, Vermont, Illinois and West Virginia, Masnick reported.

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