ULI Chicago News

ULI Chicago Panel of Experts Issue Recommendations for a County-Wide Land Bank


CONTACT: Cindy McSherry, ULI Chicago, 773-549-4972

ULI Chicago Panel of Experts Issue Recommendations for a County-Wide Land Bank

CHICAGO, IL (December 18, 2012) – The Urban Land Institute Chicago (ULI Chicago) released a report today confirming the need for a Cook County land bank as a tool to combat foreclosure and vacancy and promote reinvestment.

Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, in partnership with Board President Toni Preckwinkle, sponsored a ULI Chicago Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) in October after successfully introducing a resolution to establish the Cook County Land Bank Advisory Committee. The TAP provided input from the development community and potential end users of a land bank, and was timed and executed to inform the Advisory Committee’s research with recommendations for land bank operations, including the land bank’s mission, governance structure and finance, and property acquisition and disposition strategies.

With over 200,000 properties currently vacant and 85,000 foreclosure cases pending in the county courts, the creation of a land bank “is needed to support housing and economic development in local communities” according to Panel Chair, Scott Goldstein, principal at Teska Associates, Inc.

“Land banks around the country are providing a short-term tool to facilitate transactions and acting as long-term partners in neighborhood redevelopment with planning, property acquisition and assemblage,” said Goldstein. “Our charge was to find out if Cook County would benefit from a land bank, and if so, how it would function with local priorities and alongside existing markets to pragmatically address local communities’ needs.”

The ULI Chicago panel found a strong need for a county-wide land bank as a tool to expedite the return of foreclosed or vacant properties to productive use. In advising on the first three years of start-up operations, the panel foresaw a land bank that could partner on approximately 2550 property transactions by providing assistance in acquisition, rehabilitation, maintenance and return to the private market. Of the elements most critical to success of a land bank, the panel cited the ability to clean property title, acquire and assemble land and operate transparently – including a governance structure with appointment authority divided among the city and suburbs, elected officials, county agencies, and local industry groups.

Based on the TAPs findings and the Advisory Committee’s report, Commissioner Gainer introduced an ordinance to authorize a land bank at this morning’s County Board meeting. In addition to 10 local experts, the Land Bank TAP recruited national panelists from land banks in Cuyahoga County, Twin Cities, and Genesee County, and engaged input from more than 100 stakeholders through interviews, roundtable discussions, working sessions and briefings.

For more information visit www.chicago.uli.org, or download a copy of the report

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ULI Chicago (chicago.uli.org), a District Council of the Urban Land Institute, has more than 1,000 members in the Chicago land area. Organized in 1986, the district council celebrates 25 years in 2012. The ULI Chicago Technical Assistance Panel program draws upon ULI member expertise to provide creative and practical solutions to land use challenges in communities across the Chicago region and beyond. ULI Chicago’s TAP program was started in 2002.

The Urban Land Institute (uli.org) is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.

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