- Apr 22, 2021
A Wheeling-based manufacturer of plastic products hopes to expand its operations into Northbrook, with the help of a 6B Cook County property tax incentive. Village Trustees had mostly positive reactions to the application, although concerns were raised about the environmental impact of the company’s products.
The applicant, Northbrook Distribution Center LLC, is the contract purchaser of 3401 – 3411 Commercial Avenue, a 48,218 square foot facility that has been vacant for three years. The property would be an expansion site for Sterling Brands LLC, a manufacturer of vinyl products sold at home improvement retail stores, and Aargus Plastics, Inc., a polyethylene manufacturer, printer and recycler that specializes in custom plastic bags and liners.
The application states that the contract purchase price for the property is $2.45M, and the buyer intends to make interior renovations and upgrades of approximately $500K. If approved, the incentive would save the company around $1.08M in property taxes over 12 years. The company asserts that it would not relocate to Northbrook without the 6B incentive.
Under the Cook County Class 6B program, the overall property tax bill for an industrial or warehouse site is reduced over the course of 12 years: properties are assessed at 10% of market value for the first 10 years, 15% in the 11th year, and 20% in the 12th year. In year 13, the property reverts to the normal assessed value of 25% of market value. Eligible real estate must be used for industrial purposes and be either: (a) new construction, (b) substantial rehabilitation of a building, or (c) occupation of an “abandoned” property — generally, one that has been on the market for at least two years. The County seeks a recommendation from the Village before deciding on an incentive request.
Reviewing the application at the April 13 Board meeting, Trustees agreed that the proposal fit the 6B qualifications and were pleased about the potential for bringing new jobs to the Village. Trustee Kathryn Ciesla hoped there might be a partnership opportunity for recycling residents’ plastic shopping bags. However, several Board members commented that they wanted more information about the products being manufactured and their environmental impact. Their questions remained unsettled because the applicant was represented only by its attorney at the meeting.
“There’s a bonus component in our qualifications and criteria regarding environmental features,” stated Trustee Bob Israel. He asked for specific information regarding the recycled content of products to be manufactured at the site and any plans to move toward 100 percent recycled or biodegradable content.
“I share some of the same concerns regarding the environmental impact,” remarked Trustee Johannah Hebl. “While I agree that you meet the criteria for the 6B, for myself I’m really concerned about not having these answers before making these recommendations.” Trustees Heather Ross and Dan Pepoon noted similar sentiments.
Village President Sandy Frum urged the company to address the Trustees’ environmental questions as the application moves forward. The next step in the process would be reviews of formal application by school districts 225 and 27 and other taxing bodies, followed by a final review and recommendation by the Board to Cook County.