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In The News

Kevin Hynes on the 2020 Orland Township reassessment

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January 2021 - Kevin Hynes discussed the 2020 reassessment of Orland Township during the Orland Park Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual legislative update. Kevin provided a general summary of the reassessment and a detailed look at:

  • the shifting of the tax burden onto Orland Park businesses and its impact on businesses
  • the gross increase in commercial values
  • the pandemic’s impact on the reassessment
  • the arbitrary reduction of residential values during the pandemic

Attorney Jabari A. Jackson Joins O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes

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January 2021 - Attorney Jabari A. Jackson joined the firm and will focus his practice on commercial property tax appeals. He has more than 20 years of experience in the legal and financial areas and previously worked as an analyst with the Cook County Board of Review. In that role, he analyzed property tax appeals for commercial and industrial properties throughout Cook County. He also represented the Board of Review at commercial hearings at the Illinois Property Tax Appeals Board.

From 2013 to 2014, he served as the Deputy Director, Bureau of Vital Records, at the Cook County Clerk’s Office. He also worked for two years as legal counsel at the Cook County Assessor’s office.

Jackson earned his J.D. with honors from Northwestern University School of Law in 1998. He also earned a Master of Laws (LLM) in real estate from The John Marshall Law School, where he was a member of Lambda Alpha International. For more background and to contact Jabari, click here.

Elizabeth Gracie Moderates Panel at 2021 Forecast Event

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Jan. 7, 2021 - Elizabeth Gracie participated in the annual commercial real estate Forecast event produced (and held remotely) by REjournals.com In what has become an annual tradition, Liz moderated a discussion on the downtown and suburban office markets. Also featured on her panel were Roger Heerema, Wright Heerema Architects; Mickey Stefan, Glenstar; and Elbert Walters III, Powering Chicago. The discussion included the impact of COVID on the marketplace; what tenants are expecting of buildings now and post COVID; and how owners and developers are stepping up to meet those needs.
Click here for a video of the panel discussion.

Industrial Construction Sets Record in Chicago

Jan. 5, 2021 - Industrial development continues to set records in the Chicago market, which has nearly 30 million square feet of new space under construction in Q4 2020, according to Bisnow. The story cites a Colliers International market report in noting that most of the projects were build-to-suits and about one-third are being built on speculation. The pandemic has fueled sizable growth in industrial activity, as consumers turn to e-commerce to avoid in-person shopping.

Cook County Board of Commissioners Waive Fees

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Nov. 2020 - We at OLH hope you and yours had a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

We are pleased to pass along a little bit of good news. The Cook County Board of Commissioners recently voted to waive penalty interest for 60 days following the due dates of both the first and second installment 2020 (pay 2021) taxes.
See the O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes memo for details.

The Multi-Dimensional Property Tax Situation Impacting The Real Estate Industry.

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July 2020 - Partner Brian Forde was among key commercial real estate professionals with links to DePaul University and ULI Chicago interviewed for their perspectives on the Chicago real estate markets at the mid-point of 2020.

Forde, who earned his J.D. degree from the DePaul College of Law, offered insights on the multi-dimensional property tax situation impacting Chicago area real estate and the general outlook for the industry. He noted that, in spite of the issues and challenges related to COVID-19, the ability of industry professionals to adapt and create new solutions shouldn’t be underestimated.

Forde believes Cook County property taxes will continue to be a real threat to the industry. “As long as Cook County uses a classification system where commercial and industrial real estate is assessed at 2-1/2 times that of residential properties, property taxes will always be a challenge, and it always will be so long as the system currently in place persists,” Forde says. “That will be further exacerbated when coupled with the inability of taxing officials to manage the sheer volume of valuing 1.8 million parcels. There is just no one size fits all solution.”
See the report here.

The 2019 Triennial Reassessment of Evanston as a Harbinger of the 2021 Triennial Reassessment of Chicago

June 17, 2020 - Now that the 2019 (pay 2020) tax rates have been published, it is possible to quantify the actual tax impact of the assessment increases that occurred in Assessor Kaegi’s first reassessment – the 2019 Triennial Reassessment of the northern Cook County suburbs. We have focused on Evanston because its relative diversity approximates that of Chicago. Until the recent economic and social upheavals, we thought that the Evanston experience would presage the experience of Chicago in the 2021 Triennial Reassessment.

Beginning in the spring of 2019, Assessor Kaegi adopted a new methodology that caused him to increase assessments dramatically. Since then, he has tried to allay the consternation of taxpayers by insisting that most of the increases will be offset by declines in tax rates. He has pointed to a report published by Cushman & Wakefield early in 2020 as affirmation of his reassessment methodology and confirmation that it will have minimal impact on taxes. See the Sun Times story from February 5, 2020, “Property tax hikes won’t be that bad, new report says” and the C&W Report.
Click here for more

COVID-19 and Property Tax Updates

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May 13, 2020 - Today, Cook County officials proposed an ordinance that will postpone until October 1, 2020, the date on which interest penalties for late payments of the second installment 2019 real estate property taxes will begin to accrue. That date is typically August 1. Under the proposed ordinance, 2019 second installment property tax payments made on or before October 1, 2020, will be considered paid on time. Under state law, late property tax payments are charged 1.5% of the total property taxes owed per month. The ordinance will be presented at the next full meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners scheduled for May 21. See Cook County tax news for more.

Is there tax relief coming for Chicago area tax payers?

  • April 24, 2020 - The Better Government Association cites the actions proposed by some of the collar counties to offer some relief. Cook County and some others have not, leaving residents with uncertainty as the next tax deadline approaches. The story also notes the legal debate about whether county governments even have the authority to alter property tax due dates established by State statute.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle Comments

  • April 24, 2020 - Bisnow reports on its virtual town hall meeting with Preckwinkle in which she cited the many financial demands on county government. She is quoted saying, “We’re going to do our best to get property tax bills out on time.” “On time” means mid-June with a due date of August 1, 2020.

April 2020 COVID-19 Updates

See the following links for information on:

  • Information on Assessor Kaegi’s April 9 online meeting, with early details on how the COVID-19 pandemic might impact assessments Click Here

  • Sun-Times article on Assessor Kaegi’s plans to send 2020 assessment notices for Cook County properties and reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click Here

  • Preliminary guidelines and preparing to file assessments Click Here

O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes COVID-19 Announcement

March 17, 2020 - As concerns grow about spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we at O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes, LLC, are taking action to both protect the public health and maintain operational continuity. We are well prepared to continue delivering legal services throughout this global health crisis. Our robust technology systems will enable us to work remotely in a secure data environment. We hope to do so without interruption in our representation of your interests.
Click here for our full statement.

Attorney Douglas J. LaSota Joins O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes

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January 2020 - Attorney Douglas J. LaSota has joined the firm. He will be representing Chicago area businesses and property owners in complex property taxation issues.

LaSota has more than 10 years of experience in the legal profession, including six years as a commercial analyst at the Cook County Board of Review. LaSota continues a longstanding tradition at O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes, where attorneys bring extensive government property tax experience to their role in representing clients.

Most recently, from 2018 through late 2019, LaSota was Associate Corporation Counsel for the Village of Hoffman Estates. He previously served as a Commercial Analyst for the Cook County Board of Review, from 2011 to 2018. In that position he analyzed and rendered legal decisions on commercial, industrial, residential and condominium property assessment appeals; and conducted hearings concerning property value assessments, among other responsibilities. For more background and to contact Douglas, click here.

Liz Gracie and Kevin Hynes Speak at Commercial Real Estate Forecast Event

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January 2020 - For the third consecutive year, O'Keefe Lyons & Hynes was a sponsor of the annual Commercial Real Estate Forecast Conference in Chicago, produced locally by ReJournals. Member Liz Gracie again moderated a breakout panel on the downtown and suburban office markets, while Member Kevin Hynes was a panelist on the retail breakout session. See more on this commercial real estate forecast event here.

Outlook 2020 - Chicago’s industrial market is on track for another strong year in 2020, with activity in infill markets, such as O’Hare, of particular note. Land prices are rising and developers continue to look for opportunities to bring new product to the market.

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Chicago Multifamily Still Strong; Rents Stabilize

December 2019 - The apartment market in downtown Chicago is still growing, but at a decreasing rate, according to recent data from Integra Realty Resources. As noted in Connect Media, average net rents were up by 1.6% (to $3.10 psf) for Class A buildings. Integra expect 3,000 units to be absorbed both this year and next.

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News Updates from Around the Region

November 2019 - Here are recent commercial real estate news briefs for the Chicago market:

Construction Update

  • New construction is coming to the near north suburbs with the development of a new 26-acre mixed-use retail and residential project called Sawmill Station in Morton Grove. The project will include 200,000 sf of retail space and a 6-story, 250,000 sf residential tower.

Chicago Draws Molson Coors

  • Chicago’s commercial real estate market has drawn another national tenant in Molson Coors, which recently announced it will move to the city from Colorado. According to Bisnow, this will be a positive step forward in absorbing some of the new office space created by recent downtown construction.

Commercial Real Estate Pricing Rises 6.7%

  • Prices for commercial properties across the country rose 6.7% year-over-year in September, according to RCA’s US National All-Property Index. Industrial properties posted the largest gains with an 11.9% rise year-over-year. Read More

June 2019 - Here are recent stories making the news:

  • A recent study by The Real Estate Center at DePaul University shows 52% of CRE professionals surveyed see the Chicago commercial real estate market as strong.
  • Class A industrial assets in primary markets are positioned well for growth in values and rental rates over the next 12 months, according to a survey from the Royal Institute of Charted Surveyors (RICS). Read More

Gracie Moderates Developer Panel at Connect Media Conference

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May 2019 - Member Elizabeth Gracie recently moderated a panel discussion at the Connect Media Conference in Chicago. Gracie’s panel, which included Scott Goodman, Farpoint Development; Alan Lev, Belgravia; Jeff Shapack, Shapack Partners; and John Rutledge, Oxford Capital Partners, delved into the driving forces, challenges and benefits of mega developments and/or market-changing projects that are dominant storylines in Chicago’s real estate community.

The consensus is that while developers and their teams may go through rigorous approval processes, these projects are providing tremendous contributions to the City. In essence, their immediate and long-term benefits far outweigh the challenges and hurdles that must be overcome, even before the first shovel of dirt is moved.

Carlisle Moderates Panel at the 16th Annual CIP Summit

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May 2019 - Member Whitney Carlisle moderated a panel at the 16th Annual CIP Summit, hosted by REjournals. In the hour-long session, panelists delved into where they see emerging and sustained growth opportunities, and how the market is changing, in a strong business climate.

A panel of real estate brokers, investors and developers essentially all agreed that the industrial marketplace, continues to flourish, surpassing just about every growth and expansion metric conceivable. The panel also explored how tenant demands in the area of building amenities, office build-out requirements and parking are changing.

Tim Hennelly, the President of the Great Lakes Region of Ryan Companies addressed the emergence of opportunity zones (OZ) as a tool that likely will encourage development in certain areas and broaden the depth of the market. Hennelly notes that Ryan is preparing to break ground on a 400,000-SF spec building at Pullman Crossings, just south of the Loop in the Pullman area.

A few comments from panelists include:

  • “Chicago is in the midst of a double header, with plenty of playing time left in the game,” noted David Friedland, Executive Director of Cushman & Wakefield.
  • Brian McKiernan, Sr. Vice President, CenterPoint Properties, was more tempered, citing construction costs that are escalating at double digit increases and rents that are “at a 20-year reset” as among his concerns.
  • Chris Gary, an Executive Vice President with NAI Hiffman, gave a bullish outlook of the industrial market, saying that the Chicago market is very efficient market and demand is keeping up with supply.

April 2019 - Member Elizabeth Gracie comments on the assessor’s proposal to revamp the commercial tax assessment process.

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April 2019 - Featuring comments from Member Elizabeth Gracie on the proposed tax assessment changes.

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Winter 2019 - As O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes continues to monitor activity in the commercial real estate market, here are a few interesting stories in the news:

  • As news surfaces about Amazon possibly pulling out of its New York HQ2 space, Illinois officials jump in to restart the conversation about considering Chicago. See this NBC News story for more.
  • Bisnow recently wrote about Amazon’s potential strategy to lease Sears stores for new Whole Foods locations.
  • Glenstar Properties shifted plans from a suburban apartment development to office space, according to The Real Deal.

Four OL&H Members Named Top 10 Leading Lawyers

January 2019 - In a recent survey conducted by Leading Lawyers, four partners at O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes were voted among the Top 10 Leading Real Estate Property Tax Lawyers in Illinois. Those in the top ten for 2019 are Mark Davis, number 2; Elizabeth Gracie, number 6; Kevin Hynes, number 7; and Jason Shilson, number 9. No other firm in the State of Illinois has more than one attorney ranked in the Top 10 for property tax law attorneys. Partners Brian Forde and Whitney Carlisle were also highlighted on the list for their commercial property tax law work. All attorneys noted above are members of the firm.

January 2019 - O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes Members Kevin Hynes and Elizabeth Gracie were featured speakers at the 2019 Commercial Real Estate Forecast produced by the IL Real Estate Journal.

Kevin Hynes discussed retail trends and their impact on commercial real estate taxation, while Elizabeth Gracie moderated the office market panel. According to this story by the IL Real Estate Journal, the office panel featured discussions on how office property owners need to take some cues from the retail industry.

Office tenants want more than just cubicles and a big lobby, for example. They want a unique and comfortable experience.

The conference is in its 17th year and drew more than 900 attendees.

Kevin B. Hynes

September 2018 - O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes Member Elizabeth Gracie participated in a panel discussion at the annual Fall REIA/DePaul Real Estate Center Summit on September 27 at Maggiano's Little Italy, 111 Grand Ave., Chicago.

She discussed the factors that weigh into property tax liability, including how local government budgets determine the size of the tax pie. See this IL RE Journals story for more.

Summer 2018 - O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes Member Elizabeth Gracie was featured in the Women In Real Estate Directory, page 47, published by Rejournals.com, a division of Law Bulletin Media.

Elizabeth L. Gracie

Two prominent Chicago property tax law firms merge
under the name O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes, LLC

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Chicago (May 1, 2018) - O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes, LLC and McCracken, Walsh, Carlisle & de LaVan have merged, bringing together two prominent property tax law firms in Chicago under the name O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes, LLC.

O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes, LLC was established in 1937. In reflecting on the firm’s 80-year history, Kevin O’Keefe observed, “Our attorneys have continually been involved in drafting legislation, litigating precedent-setting cases and crafting cutting edge strategies on behalf of our clients. We are eager to take on the most complex and challenging matters.”

McCracken Walsh, Carlisle & de LaVan was established in 1958. Its current principal, Whitney Carlisle, brings more than 22 years of experience representing Chicago area businesses in complex property taxation issues. He previously spent 11 years in the taxation division of the office of the Cook County State’s Attorney. He is currently Vice Chairman of the Illinois State Bar Association’s State and Local Taxation Section Council and a co-chair of the Property Tax Committee of The Civic Federation. The merger also brings attorney Margaret Graham and several administrative staff to the O’Keefe firm.

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May 2018 - Our firm’s merger was highlighted in the IL Real Estate Journal.

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March 9, 2018 - O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes Partner John Nyhan discussed tax incentive programs in Cook County as part of this IL Real Estate Journal’s article. Elizabeth Gracie was featured in the Women In Real Estate Directory published by Rejournals.com, a division of Law Bulletin Media.

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John P. Nyhan

February 8, 2018 - Three firms that work extensively in commercial real estate—O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes, McShane Construction and Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen, P.C.—were among the honorees at a recent gala hosted by Christ the King Jesuit College Prep (CTK).

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O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes Celebrates 80th Anniversary
Hosts Clients at Chicago’s London House

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September 2017 - O’Keefe, Lyons & Hynes recently celebrated its 80th anniversary at an open house event for clients.

Pictured left to right, are: Brian Forde, Mike Heaton, Kevin O’Keefe, Elizabeth Gracie, Patricia Quinn Ford, John Nyhan, Jason Shilson, Kevin Hynes and Mark Davis.

Chicago Industrial Properties

February 23, 2017 - By Brian Forde, Partner, O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes

Since the start of the recovery from the 2008 recession, we have witnessed incredible growth in Chicago’s industrial market.

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Brian P. Forde

Illinois Real Estate Journal/2018 Forecast Event

February 17, 2017 - More than 900 attendees crowded into the 16th Annual CRE Forecast to hear what the experts had to say.

Kevin Hynes spoke on the Retail Panel at the 2018 Commercial Real Estate Forecast Event.

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