Proposed Westfield Old Orchard Business District
This matter is expected to be considered by the Skokie Village Board at the March 7, 2022, 8 p.m. meeting held at Skokie Village Hall, 5127 Oakton Street, Skokie, Illinois. The meeting agenda will be posted here by late afternoon on Thursday, March 3, 2022.
Click here to see Mayor Van Dusen's February 17, 2022 Letter to the Editor of the Chicago Tribune
Click here to see Frequently asked Questions regarding the proposed Old Orchard Business District
Click here to see letter of support from Chicago's North Shore Convention & Visitors Bureau
Click here to see letter of support from the Skokie Chamber of Commerce & Industry
As one of the most significant economic drivers in Skokie, it is critical for the Village to help grow and enhance the viability of the Westfield Old Orchard Shopping Center (“Old Orchard” or the “Center”) as has been the case historically. Collectively, Old Orchard is the largest sales tax contributor for the Village and is a significant property tax generator for both Skokie School District 68 (K-8) as well as Niles Township High School District 219, the Skokie Public Library and Skokie Park District to name a few. Furthermore, Old Orchard has been a significant point of pride for the Village and destination for the region since the center opened in 1956.
Village staff and ownership from Westfield have been working collaboratively since 2019 to strategize ways in which to facilitate additional investment at Old Orchard. The goal of this collaboration is multi-faceted to include increasing overall sales and taxes, as well as expanding the mix of tenants and services to create a ‘best in class’ experience for visitors and customers. Westfield has maintained hat extraordinarily high property taxes have and continue to be the key impediment which has and continues to discourage significant capital investment in the Center. In fact, Old Orchard has the highest property tax burden levied in the Westfield portfolio globally. The property tax burden at Old Orchard accounts for 38% of tenant expense which is significantly higher than the national industry average of 12%. This reality has dissuaded significant investment at Old Orchard over the past three decades as the last significant investment and expansion was completed in 1991.
As a strategic, prudent, and meaningful solution for improving and solidifying its standing as a top shopping and dining experience for the Village and region, a two pronged economic incentive approach was deemed necessary. The first prong dealt with the Village Board recommending approval of a Cook County Class 7B property tax incentive for the redevelopment of the former Lord & Taylor Department Store. The Village Board approved this recommendation at the December 6, 2021 Board meeting. The second prong for consideration by the Village Board is to recommend forming the, "Old Orchard Center Business District" in accordance with state law. At the February 7, 2022 Village Board Meeting, Skokie Mayor VanDusen and the Trustees voted 6-1 to direct Village Corporation Counsel to develop the appropriate ordinances and code amendments for formal consideration. The Board will formally consider these items during the March 7, 2022 Village Board Meeting.
For more information please click on the following links below. These links will be updated as the process evolves.
Board Memorandum and Collaterals - February 7, 2022 recommendation for designating the Old Orchard Center Business District, approving the Business District Plan, and making a determination of a blighted area finding and recommendation for a Village Code Amendment authorizing the imposition of a Business District retailer's and service occupation tax within the boundaries of the Old Orchard Center Business District - CLICK HERE
Board Memorandum and Collaterals - December 6, 2021 recommending approval of a Cook County Class 7B Property Tax incentive for the former Lord & Taylor Space and outlining components of a Business District and requisite Public Hearing - CLICK HERE
Board Memorandum and Collaterals - January 18, 2022 Public Hearing - Proposed Westfield Old Orchard Center Business District - CLICK HERE
Proposed Old Orchard Center Business District Plan - 12-15-21 - CLICK HERE
Board Presentation - PowerPoint Presentations - CLICK HERE
Sales Tax Sensitivity Summary - Gruen & Gruen Associates - CLICK HERE
See more information about Skokie's decades-long history of progressive, successful economic development.