By TJ Armour, N’Digo | August 20th, 2018 (Click here for the original article)
Since its creation in 2013, the Cook County Land Bank Authorityhas worked hard to reverse the effects of the 2008 mortgage crisis by taking tax delinquent, vacant properties in south and west side neighborhoods and getting them back to a useful purpose. They’ve removed barriers that have existed for years in turning these properties around because they have the authority to quickly acquire them, eliminate all back taxes and fees associated with them and offer them to people in the community to purchase and rehab at below market to little cost.
A few of the CCLBA’s accomplishments thus far include: Rehab 500 homes that were once that vacant and tax delinquent, bringing down area home values and producing no tax revenue for local government services. These affordably priced homes are now in the hands of new homeowners or are in the process of being purchased. Generate nearly $33 million in new community wealth – i.e., home value for new homeowners. Be 100% self-funded with no taxpayer dollars used; generated $23 million in revenue through property sales and grants, which is being re-invested in acquiring new properties and to cover all operational expenses.
N’DIGO recently sat down with Executive Director Rob Rose to learn more about the organization and what else it has in store.
Q: Tell us a bit about your education and professional background?
I received my undergraduate degree in business from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. I received my MBA from The Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Pre-business school, I worked in the semiconductor and technology industry. Post-business school, my experience lies in real estate, banking, and community development.
Q: For those unfamiliar, what is the Cook County Land Bank Authority?
The Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA) is a unit of Cook County government, funded primarily with revenues from property transactions. CCLBA is the largest land bank by geography in the country and is governed by a Board of Directors chaired by Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer. The Board of Directors is appointed by Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle and the Cook County Board of Commissioners.
Q: Please give a few examples of some of the projects to help transform communities that the CCLBA has been a part of?
One that immediately comes to mind is the Washington Park Bank Building located at 63rd and Cottage Grove. This building has been vacant for over 25 years. After acquiring the building, we engaged the Woodlawn community to determine future uses and incorporated those ideas into the Request for Proposal solicitation. We are currently working to identify a developer to rehab the Bank Building.
Q: In your opinion, what are some additional things our communities can do to keep the momentum going once people purchase the rehabbed properties?
Form or join the block club.
Get to know your neighbors.
Shop at local businesses.
Hold your elected officials accountable.