Southland Reactivation Incentive
What is the Southland Reactivation Act?
The Southland Reactivation Act (P.A. 102-1010) is legislation creating a meaningful property tax solution that benefits both developers and local government. It’s a tax abatement incentive for property developers and investors who purchase commercial and industrial property from municipalities or their land bank partners, the South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority and Cook County Land Bank.
This innovative law establishes a Southland Reactivation property designation, which effectively lowers property tax bills for qualifying sites for a 12 year period in areas ripe for redevelopment in the South Suburbs.
The Act provides the South Suburbs with a new economic development tool in the region’s tool kit, encouraging incremental growth of the tax base while providing a clear benefit to developers and private sector investors.
Why was it created?
Public Act 102-1010 was uniquely designed to provide the South Suburbs with a competitive edge in attracting private sector investment and new jobs to the region.
The Southland Reactivation Act, passed as a pilot program, is intended to catalyze the turnaround of vacant tax-exempt commercial and industrial sites held by municipalities or their local land bank partners. The Act incentivizes private investment in the Southland by reducing and capping the property tax liability of an eligible site for 12 years. Despite the inherent strengths of the South Suburbs, the region has struggled to compete for new investment due to high tax rates. The goal of the Act is to successfully revitalize tax exempt, underutilized properties to get them back on the tax rolls, which in turn will add to the community’s tax base and bring much needed jobs to the area.
What sites are eligible?
Qualifying sites are restricted to those held by either the municipality, the South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority or the Cook County Land Bank Authority and classified as exempt; or properties with no lawful occupant for at least the past 12 months, as attested to by a supporting affidavit.
Eligible properties must be zoned commercial or industrial at time of designation, and be located in Bloom, Bremen, Calumet, Rich, Thornton, or Worth Townships in Cook County.
How does the incentive work?
Municipalities have the discretion to “reactivate,” or designate a qualifying site as a Southland Reactivation property, if the redevelopment furthers the community’s defined economic development goals. Southland Reactivation designation spurs private investment in the Southland by reducing and capping the property tax liabilities (tax bills) of eligible sites for 12 years.
Select properties that meet qualifying criteria would be assessed at 50% of the last known equalized assessed value. For the first year a property is certified as a Southland Reactivation property, the property’s aggregate tax bill liability is capped at $100,000, maximum. Discounts on the liability would decrease gradually over the course of 12 years.
The Southland Reactivation designation provides real, substantial savings to investors and developers that invest or expand in the Southland. It provides predictability as well, since tax bills are not impacted by property reassessment for the duration of the incentive.
How does the Reactivation designation compare to Cook County’s Class 6, 7, or 8 incentive programs?
Public Act 102-1010 is model legislation as it removes properties from the Assessor’s and Board of Review’s Market Assessment process for the duration of the 12-year incentive. It also establishes a maximum tax liability for enrolled properties. Unlike the Cook County Property Tax Incentive Programs for Class 6, 7, and 8 which reduce market value assessments from 25% to 10% and require affidavits, application fees, and potentially documentation of special circumstances, the Southland Reactivation Act is simple and, with municipal approval, can be fast tracked in as little as 15 days.
The Act uses a unique formula to develop a low tax liability for the property utilizing its Base Year EAV—the last tax year during which the property was occupied and assessed and had an equalized assessed valuation (EAV)—as a starting point for an assigned EAV. Next, it reduces that EAV by 50% and has a codified maximum tax liability ceiling for year one of $100,000. In years two through 12, the tax liability for the property increases over the preceding year by 10%.
This simple and transparent methodology allows for incremental growth of the tax base, while providing developers and private sector investors the surety of a predictable tax bill that doesn’t fluctuate with a reassessment cycle.
The Reactivation designation is not renewable at this time, as its formula significantly reduces the total tax liability during the 12 year incentive period.
Can I layer other incentives along with the Southland Reactivation designation?
Yes. Site specific incentives that do not impact local taxing bodies—such as Enterprise Zone and Opportunity Zone incentives—may be available to be used concurrently with the tax liability abatement that the Reactivation designation provides.
How do I get started?
First, read the text of P.A. 102-1010.
Explore the interactive searchable web map to view eligible sites.
Once you've found a potential site, use our online incentive calculator to estimate your 12-year tax bill.
Contact the owner of record for the parcel of interest—the municipality, the South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority or the Cook County Land Bank Authority—to express your interest and schedule a meeting to discuss your development plans.
Download our toolkit and submission checklist for a step-by-step guide to the designation process.