The Illinois Tax Increment Association held its fall conference at the end of September in Chicago. Always a great chance to gather with and learn from attorneys, financial advisors, lenders, developers, urban planners and elected officials, there were quite a few interesting programs covering the latest tax increment financing (TIF) trends.
A packed agenda over two days, topics included communication strategies, municipal code enforcement, redevelopment agreements, cost eligibility, and industrial projects (including a general survey of the industrial market).
Below are five things I thought were of particular interest.
1. There are different types of elected officials with different motivations, so you have to know the audience you need to educate to get your development approved and financed.
2. Recently passed Illinois legislation effective in 2024 will allow non-home rule municipalities to much more expeditiously enforce building and zoning codes, giving them a great new economic development tool.
3. Municipalities look to “claw backs” as their main means to secure developers’ compliance with redevelopment agreements, which can complicate financing plans.
4. Opinions vary (sometimes widely) across Illinois as to what grey-area costs are TIF-eligible, so it is important for developers to retain experienced professional advisers.
5. Transportation, distribution and logistics (TDL) developments can bring much more than just warehouses to underutilized real estate: they can be a magnet for retail- and service businesses and often incorporate public amenities like walking trails.
After the two-day program, it’s clear that TIFs remain an important and increasingly valuable economic development option for municipalities and developers alike.