Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day

The Shenfeld Group wishes you a very happy and relaxing Labor Day weekend! Labor Day is always celebrated the first Monday in September and was passed into national law as an observed holiday in 1894, marking the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

While you’re catching up on rest and relaxation this weekend, here are some noteworthy items you might have missed in Chicago this week:

  1. Wonder why traffic has been so bad on North Avenue and Webster this summer? It’s because Cortland Street has been closed to prepare for rebuilding the bridge over the north branch of the Chicago river, a project slated for 2018. The street is scheduled to reopen in November, but while the street has been closed, you may have missed the demolition of the A. Finkl & Sons steel plant. The demolition is clearing the way (literally) for the site be sold. The site is said to be considered for a billion dollar renovation. Crain’s Real Estate Daily has more on the story:Sterling Bay is close to acquiring the recently razed A. Finkl & Sons steel mill in Lincoln Park, where the Chicago developer could invest at least $1 billion on one of the largest North Side real estate redevelopments in generations.

    A group of former Finkl executives who own the coveted 28-acre site along the Chicago River are in advanced talks to sell it to Sterling Bay, according to people familiar with the deal. The price could not be determined.

    Sterling Bay already has deals to buy two adjacent sites around the river and Webster Avenue, the Guttman leather tannery and Lakin General tire recycling properties.

    If the Finkl acquisition is completed as expected, the combined three sites would provide Sterling Bay an approximately 40-acre parcel of open land along the otherwise densely populated Lincoln Park, Bucktown and Logan Square neighborhoods.

    “It’s always been a special site due to its proximity and its size,” said Mike Drew, a principal at Chicago-based Structured Development, a developer of several properties in the area. He is not involved in the deal with Sterling Bay.

    “You just can’t assemble something like that, which is what makes it such a huge opportunity,” he said. “Depending on the use that is negotiated (with the city), you could have 10,000 to 15,000 jobs at that location, whether it be office, (research and development), bioresearch or a mixed use that the current zoning does not allow.”

    A major redevelopment of the site has been anticipated since the property’s owners—a group including former company CEO Bruce Liimatainen, former president Joseph Curci and James B. Finkl, son of former CEO Charles W. Finkl—began demolishing the former steel plant’s buildings last year to clear the site for a sale. Read the rest of the story at Crain’s Chicago Business.

  2. Rahm Emanuel to seek $500 Million Property Tax Hike. In order to shore up pensions for police and firefighters, and to begin construction for new schools, Emanuel is seeking to raise property taxes by $500 million next year. He’s also hoping to collect another $100 million for the city by imposing garbage collection fees. And love Uber? Well, get ready for an extra $1 per ride. The Chicago Sun-Times has the story:

    The $500 million property tax increase will cost the owner of a home valued at $250,000 roughly $500 more each year. The garbage fee — widely viewed as a back-door property-tax hike — will be a monthly assessment of roughly $11 to $12 per household.

    The mayor’s 2016 budget also will include a tax on e-cigarettes and other smokeless tobacco products — roughly equivalent to the $7.17 tax slapped on a pack of cigarettes purchased in Chicago — and a $1 a ride surcharge on Uber and other ride-hailing services.

    Sources said the surcharge will be part of a broader package of reforms to level a playing field that has allowed ride-hailing companies to siphon business from taxicabs.

    A penny-an-ounce “fat tax” on sugary soft drinks aimed at curbing obesity might also make its way onto the smorgasbord of tax and fee hikes served up by the mayor, depending on the outcome of a public hearing spearheaded by the tax’s champion: Ald. George Cardenas (12th), chairman of the City Council Committee on Health and Environmental Protection.

    The 60 percent increase in the city’s property tax levy, along with a garbage fee, ride-hailing surcharge and smokeless tobacco tax, make up the largest collection of tax and fee hikes Chicagoans have ever seen. Read the rest of the story at the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About Michael Shenfeld

Real Estate Consultant

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