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Vacant Retail Space Slow to Fill in Area Communities

The current vacancy rate in McHenry County is 9 percent.

Slowly but surely, communities have been able to fill vacant retail space in the area.

Crystal Lake added about 50 new businesses and 500 new jobs over the past two years, filling nearly 1 million square feet of empty retail space Michelle Rentzsch, the city’s director of planning and economic development, told the Northwest Herald.

The Northwest Herald reports the following vacancy rates for area communities: Algonquin, 7.5 percent; Lake in the Hills, 6 percent; Crystal Lake, 8, percent; Cary, 9 percent; and McHenry County, 9 percent. When the economy was booming, vacancy rates were between 5 to 7 percent.  

Crystal Lake offers a variety of incentives to attract new businesses, including grant programs that "provide financial assistance to new Crystal Lake retailers who occupy vacant retail spacea," according to the city's website. 

The village of Lake in the Hills also has an economic incentive policy

The plan specifies that the village may approve incentive requests for "grants, local sales tax revenue sharing, fee waiver, infrastructure improvements, property tax rebates, industrial revenue bonds and loans on a case by case basis," according to the incentive plan. 

Although it was during stronger economic times, an incentive agreement played a huge part in drawing Costco, the village's number one sales tax generator, to Lake in the Hills. 

Since the land where Costco ended up building required a lot of grading work and the addition of a retaining wall, the village agreed to a sales tax sharing agreement.

As a part of the agreement, 50 percent of the sales tax revenues Costco generated went back to the business until a total of $1.6 million was reimbursed, according to a case study in the Lake in the Hills incentive plan

Costco reached that amount in 4.5 years while the store remains a "huge component" of the village's commercial base, according to the case study. 

Tell us in the comments' section: Which empty retail space(s) in Huntley would you most like to see filled? What business would you like to see come to the your community? 

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