Business, Local News

Homewood trustees vote to suspend property tax relief for Walmart

Walmart received a Cook County Class 8 property tax relief benefit when it opened its Homewood store in October 2016. On March 10, the store closed, and Homewood officials decided on March 28 to take back the tax break.

“The village’s support of the Cook County Class 8 incentive was premised upon Walmart operating a retail store and gas station at the 17550 Halsted St. location,” Village Manager Napoleon Haney said in a memo to the mayor and Board of Trustees.

“The Village reached out to Walmart Corporation and Agree Realty with little success. At this point, neither Walmart nor Agree Realty has provided any information of an intent to re-lease, redevelop, or sell the property now that the store is closed.”

The Chronicle asked a Walmart representative about the company’s plans for the site. Walmart’s lease has 12 years remaining. The response included a brief statement: “Walmart is actively working with the landlord and providing assistance with the search for a tenant.”

The Class 8 incentive reduces the assessed value of the property for the first 12 years after new construction or, in this case, substantial rehabilitation, is completed. The most significant reduction applies to the first 10 years, when the property is assessed at 10% of market value. Commercial properties normally are assessed at 25% of market value.

The county commission has to sign off on the suspension. Once that’s done, the tax rate will return to 25% of market value.

When the village board approved Walmart’s request for the Class 8 designation in 2015, the company agreed to a $4.3 million cap on the benefit. No other Class 8 designation in Homewood has had a cap. 

Homewood Mayor Rich Hofeld said the company was about halfway to the cap when the store closed.

Haney said if Walmart or Agree Realty shares plans with the village to lease, redevelop or sell the property, the village “will evaluate whether or not to request for Cook County to reinstate the Class 8 tax incentive.”

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