Land bank authority eyes redevelopment of three Homewood buildings

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Homewood Village Board members approved an intergovernmental agreement with the South Suburban Land Bank Development Authority at their Jan. 23 meeting, setting in motion a process to redevelop three vacant properties.
Municipalities have limited ability to hold, manage and develop foreclosed or vacant properties and return them to productive use. Land banks are an economic development tool developed to help with that. 
SSLBDA incurs all of the legal costs associated with acquiring these kinds of properties. South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association organized the land bank in 2011. It is funded by grants, including the initial grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Today 20 south suburban communities use the land bank. Homewood became a member in 2015.
The three Homewood properties added to the register are a vacant building that once contained a State Farm Insurance office at 17660 Dixie Highway, an office building at 17924 S. Halsted St. and the former Brunswick Zone bowling center at 3043 W. 183rd St.

According to a memo from Angela Mesaros, director of economic and community development, the structures on the properties are considered either unsafe, abandoned or delinquent in taxes or village fees for at least two years.
The SSLBDA informs developers, marketers, lenders and potential business owners of the properties. The aim is to find someone to demolish, develop or renovate the sites.
The board also approved a sign variance and planned unit development amendment for Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, coming to 17601 Halsted St. The property was formerly a Taco Bell, which will be demolished.
Freddy’s will include five signs on the property. The village Appearance Commission originally denied a request for a wall sign on the building’s east side but approved a package without it. 

Freddy’s appealed to the village board, which approved the original package, with the sign on the east side. 
Greg Waldo, of Freddy’s, told the board that the plan is to have the restaurant open in late summer or early fall of 2018.

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