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CHICAGO-City officials are using $4 million in Cook County Class 6(b) property tax incentives to leverage more than $20 million in industrial projects on the South, Southwest and West sides. At least two of them, including a $16-million refrigerated storage facility, would likely have sought tax-friendlier locations in Will County without the incentives, the city council’s committee on economic and capital development was told Thursday.

Jersey City, NJ-based Preferred Freezer Services, which supplies frozen seafood and meat to specialty food companies, is expected to reap $1.6 million in property tax savings over the 12-year life of the incentives. The project at 2600 S. Damen Ave. is being developed by a company-controlled entity, Windy Bear Properties LLC, which is getting $11.9 million in financing from Bank One.

President and CEO John Galiher says Preferred Freezer Services has experience with similar projects and financing in New Jersey, Miami and Los Angeles. “The economics here that shocked us were the real estate taxes were off the charts for warehouses,” Galiher says.

Cost of building a cold-storage warehouse with 60-foot ceilings are about $170 per sf. If Windy Bear Properties were assessed for the total cost of the project, real estate taxes would run $8.60 per sf. Preferred Freezer Services is expected to lease the facility for $12 per sf, leaving about $340,000 to pay the loan from Bank One.

At 1300 W. 35th St., Crystal IL 98 LLC will add 60,000 sf to its 17,000-sf plant where it makes vinyl doors and windows. The partnership will get $1.7 million from National Associates Bank for the project, as well as $960,816 in savings over 12 years from the Class 6(b) property tax break. Like Preferred Freezer Services, Crystal IL 98 LLC was wooed by Will County before deciding to stay in the city, says attorney Brian Liston.

Tampa-based Gardner-Gibson LLC will use $6 million in Enterprise Zone bonds to acquire and rehab a 110,000-sf building at 4734 W. Roosevelt Rd. The former General Motors building, vacant for more than 10 years, is next to the driveway and roof coating manufacturer’s current facility. Class 6(b) tax breaks will save the company nearly $1.3 million over the next 12 years.

Juice Tyme will add 15,000 sf to its 27,000-sf building at 4401 S. Oakley Ave., receiving an estimated $221,363 in property tax breaks over the next 12 years to offset the $1.05-million cost of the project, which is being financed by Associated Bank.

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