We are excited to share this guest commentary from David Baron, Marketing Committee Chair for the Kankakee Development Corporation.

With a historic urban core only blocks from prime riverfront land, Downtown Kankakee, Illinois is poised for redevelopment. Although the area already serves as a hub for community life hosting an active farmers’ market, multiple art galleries, and freshly minted bike lanes, it is also a hub for numerous economic development incentives—federal, state, and local—that converge here to the benefit of savvy investors.

In addition to federal Historic Tax Credits to help restore several early and mid 20th century buildings located Downtown, available federal incentives include Opportunity Zone benefits for the reinvestment of capital gains, New Market Tax Credits for high community impact projects, and Low Income Housing Tax Credits for quality affordable residential units. The State of Illinois also offers targeted incentives through its own Historic Tax Credits, the Blue Collar Jobs Act (tax credit based on pay to construction workers), Apprenticeship Tax Credit Program (tax credit for qualified educational expenses), and Enterprise Zone benefits (various tax credits and abatements for projects within the Zone). Locally, the City of Kankakee established a Riverfront TIF in 2019 to spur growth in the area, and the Kankakee Development Corporation, a non-profit that administers a special annual assessment, offers a façade improvement grant and rent rebate program for new commercial tenants.

Area Development Magazine recently named the Kankakee Metropolitan Statistical Area the top nationwide for year-over-year job growth, leading to expectations that demand for a walkable, livable, and workable Downtown Kankakee will continue to increase. Local leaders have spent resources educating professionals in the community to help utilize the many incentives available, and they are ready to discuss how those incentives could work for the next step of development in Kankakee.

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