The Village has two active tax increment financing (TIF) redevelopment districts that serve to promote orderly redevelopment and to attract new investment in the area surrounding the Metra commuter rail station at Lehigh and Ferris Avenues and at the intersection of Dempster Street and Waukegan Road. These districts were created in accordance with Illinois state law regarding the use TIF.
Sawmill Station TIF District
The Sawmill Station Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Redevelopment District was established in 2019 at the intersection of Dempster Street and Waukegan Road. The district serves to stimulate and enhance commercial, retail, and mixed-use development within the area, especially redevelopment of the former Prairie View Plaza shopping center. The former shopping center experienced high rates of vacancy over the last decade of its existence, creating a deleterious impact on Morton Grove's two key commercial corridors. Establishment of the Sawmill Station TIF District coincided with termination of the former Dempster/Waukegan TIF District and an amendment to the Waukegan Road TIF to remove certain parcels.
As a result of the Sawmill Station TIF District, the former Prairie View Plaza is currently being redeveloped by property owner IM Kensington MG LLC to establish a new lifestyle center featuring 240,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space and a six-story multifamily complex approved for up to 250 units. The development has an estimated construction value of $150 million.
Lehigh/Ferris TIF District
The Lehigh/Ferris Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Redevelopment District was created as a means to promote orderly redevelopment of numerous vacant and underutilized properties near the Metra commuter rail station at Lehigh and Lincoln Avenues. Adopted in 1999, the Lehigh/Ferris Tax Increment Financing Redevelopment Project and Plan establishes the goals and objectives of the Lehigh/Ferris TIF District, which expires in 2023.
This area is one of Morton Grove's oldest neighborhoods and features some of the Village's most outdated infrastructure and utilities. Redevelopment within the district has included multi-family residential, commercial, and institutional uses, in addition to significant infrastructure improvements. Future improvements to public and private property that contribute to a vibrant and safe working, living, and shopping environment are anticipated.
General redevelopment is guided by the Lehigh/Ferris Subarea Plan, which was adopted in 2002 and revised as a Framework Plan in 2009. This conceptual plan was developed over a five-year period with extensive input from professional engineers, architects, planners and Morton Grove residents. This Framework Plan reflects the priorities, restrictions, and general design intentions expressed by Morton Grove’s elected officials, appointed officials and community residents. This document will be used to guide future public infrastructure improvements as well as all future development in the TIF Redevelopment District so that the neighborhood transitions into a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood that compliments the surrounding neighborhoods. The Lehigh/Ferris Framework Plan consists of two volumes:
Several private redevelopment projects have been completed since this district was created while others are under construction at this time. Recent projects include the following:
- The Woodlands of Morton Grove – Consisting of nearly 400 new homes, the development includes four mid-rise condominium buildings and several clustered townhouses arranged around a private driveway and landscaped common areas. The project was developed by the Elliott Group and built by McShane Construction. In 2005, it was recognized as Chicagoland’s Multi-Family Development of the Year. This $110 million project was made possible, in part, by a $5 million TIF tax-sharing agreement.
- Crossings at Morton Grove – This project consists of 64 luxury townhouses developed by the Toll Brothers, a national homebuilder. Construction of this project began in 2006.
- Moretti’s Ristorante & Pizzeria – This project involved the redevelopment of a vacant Village-owned property. Ala Carte Entertainment purchased the two-acre property and began site remediation in 2016, with construction of the new 12,000-square-foot restaurant taking place in 2017.
- Lexington Walk (Ferris/Capulina) – Lexington Homes, LLC, developed a 36-unit townhome community across a total of seven buildings. Lexington Homes purchased the Village-owned property, remediated the site, relocated existing electrical equipment and utilities, and redeveloped the site in accordance with a redevelopment agreement with the Village. The Village provided TIF assistance for select costs associated with the development, including environmental remediation and utility equipment relocation.
Dempster/Waukegan TIF District (Terminated)
The Dempster/Waukegan Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Redevelopment District was created in 2012 as a means to promote redevelopment of properties adjacent to and along the intersection of Dempster Street and Waukegan Road. The TIF district was terminated in 2019 and properties still in need of redevelopment were incorporated in a new Sawmill Station TIF Redevelopment District.
Waukegan Road TIF District (Expired)
The Waukegan Road Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Redevelopment District was created in 1995 and intended to encourage redevelopment and improvement of the Waukegan Road commercial corridor. The district expired in 2018.
As a result of the TIF redevelopment district, several lower-tier motels were replaced with new commercial development. Projects included a Walgreen’s pharmacy and a Charter One (former St. Paul Federal) Bank. A new McGrath Acura automobile dealership opened in 2003. The Waukegan Road public right-of-way from Dempster Street to Golf Road also underwent significant improvements as a result of the TIF district. Improvements included: the creation of a continuous center turn lane, new street lighting, new landscaping, and new street furniture. Much of this work was funded by federal and state sources due in part to the Village’s commitment to improving the commercial corridor.