CRETE | As the economy slowly picks back up, and commercial and residential property regains its value, the village of Crete has been laying the groundwork for additional development.
Over the past few months, the Village Board has annexed some small pieces of property, and has accepted the warranty deed on others. They have also written an ordinance that will help deal with abandoned or vacated properties.
It is part of a strategy that will give village officials input in new developments coming to the suburb.
In December, local Realtor Bruce Hackel appeared before the board and offered an update on the real estate market in the Crete area.
“It’s a given that the market has been challenged the past four or five years,” Hackel said. “Currently, 20 to 25 percent of the market is considered distressed, which means the property is eligible for short sale below market value.
“But I believe the bottom has been hit and Crete is on its way back up, which means it is a good time for the village to look into any properties it might want to purchase,” Hackel said.
At that same board meeting, the village annexed unincorporated land at 280A W. Exchange St. contiguous to the village boundary. They also annexed unincorporated land south of Exchange near Dairy Lane.
“We want to be able to provide potential businesses the opportunity to develop here in Crete,” Village President Michael Einhorn said. “While we always welcome residential development, we believe that we will make more headway in commercial over the next few years.”
Crete has four designated Tax Increment Financing districts within the village. In a TIF district, taxes generated by development within the district can be used to spur development or redevelopment by providing tax incentives for commercial expansion.
“TIF financing allows us to compete with areas that have lower taxes, such as Indiana,” Village Administrator Tom Durkin said. “Commercial developers who can utilize TIF funds are much more open to doing business in our area.”
In the previous three board meetings, four parcels were deeded to the village by the owners. That included six lots in Lincolnshire Estates and two on Williams Lane.
Like many of the other south suburbs, Crete is hoping that the Southeast Commuter Rail Transit District will bring commuters to the village via rail. The board authorized a one-time payment of $4,500 for participation in hiring professional representation to advance the rail initiative.
Mother Theresa Catholic Academy, a private school on the Crete border, has requested the village annex the school and its property. The board and the school are in negotiations. A public hearing will take place Feb. 11 at the Village Hall, and the annexation is expected to be completed Feb. 25.
“The school would prefer to deal with the local government as opposed to the county,” Durkin said. “Plus, if they expand, they want to be able to get additional water from the village. So it’s a good opportunity for both parties.”