Brookfield’s first and only tax increment financing (TIF) district along Ogden Avenue turned 1 yesterday. To nobody’s surprise, Ogden Avenue looks very much like it did 12 months ago. A few more vacant commercial spaces, perhaps. A large-scale would-be development site in foreclosure on DuBois near Ogden. A still-vacant former car dealer site at Eberly and Ogden.
Following a year that saw the national real estate market nose dive and the Cook County Assessor announce that he would be reassessing all residential properties, it’s still unclear what impact the fortunes of 2008-09 will be on commercial properties on Ogden Avenue.
Real estate tax bills, which should have already been sent to property owners, are not expected to be mailed until Oct. 1, said Brookfield Assistant Manager Keith Sbiral, who added that, in any case, he doesn’t expect much in the way of an “increment” for the TIF district.
As property taxes are reassessed within a TIF district, money derived from any increase in assessments is funneled into a special TIF fund, which can be used for a variety of purposes related to economic redevelopment. The money can be used to fund public infrastructure improvements or assemble parcels of land. Money can also be used to provide incentives for development.
Brookfield trustees passed the TIF legislation on Sept. 8, 2008, with Trustee Michael Towner calling it “probably the most important piece of economic development legislation that any Brookfield village board has ever passed.”
Looking down the street last week, one would be hard pressed to provide evidence of that statement, but officials say the TIF was never intended to be an overnight success.
“It’s where I thought it would be a year out,” said Brookfield Village President Michael Garvey. “It was the right time to do it, and I’m optimistic things will turn around. There are going to be a lot of great bargains on property, and the fact that we have potential incentives puts us ahead of towns that don’t have it.”
Philip McKenna, president of Kane McKenna Capital Inc., which was hired to prepare documents related to the creation of the TIF and will continue to serve the village as it formulates its TIF policies, said that it will take years for the TIF to begin showing results.
“LaGrange’s TIF has been huge,” said McKenna. “But for the first four or five years in LaGrange you didn’t see much growth at all. The one in Hodgkins, for the first year or two the increment was negative, because they tore down buildings. It took three or four years to build the increment.”
In the first year after The Quarry shopping center was built on Joliet Road, the Hodgkins TIF built a $1 million increment, McKenna said.
Brookfield shouldn’t expect that kind of increment – it doesn’t have the land that Hodgkins had to rely on. But, according to the village’s TIF redevelopment plan, the total equalized assessed value of properties in the TIF district is projected to increase by almost $22.4 million by the end of the 23-year life of the district.
“We’re taking steps to lay the foundation for what’s going to happen in the future,” said Sbiral, who added that the village board will begin looking at creating policies that will guide future boards.
“We’ll be talking about TIF policies in October,” Sbiral said. “Those will be governing documents to give the board policy direction on how to expend the TIF increment when it comes. They should set the direction and goals so the village can be consistent over the next 22 years of the TIF.”
Just how the coming years will change the face of Ogden Avenue is unknown. The owner of one longtime business on the street, Eric Wahlstrom, said he feels the next step ought to be for the village to begin assembling key properties, as LaGrange did, in order to direct development.
That might result in some businesses relocating, Wahlstrom admitted, but said he’d support that if it helped the village. The Roy Wahlstrom Company has been in its current location in the 9300 block of Ogden Avenue since 1969. It was located across the street prior to that time since the 1950s.
“If something like that came in my direction, you hope it’s for the better good,” Wahlstrom said.
Despite the rough 2009, some improvements on Ogden Avenue are poised to pop. The Brookfield Express Car Wash at Eberly and Ogden will undergo renovation this fall, and the owner of the Dunkin Donuts at Maple and Ogden purchased land next door for a rumored expansion there.
Those kinds of improvements will begin feeding the increment on Ogden Avenue. It won’t be much at first, but it will be a start.
“It’s a positive snowball effect once it happens,” Garvey said. “I think there are some bargain shoppers out there looking for things now.”