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; 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 Lake in the Hills Village Board approved a sales tax-sharing program and fee reduction program last week with the hopes of drawing retail space to Route 31 and Route 47, according to the Northwest Herald.
Prior to that approval, the village of Lake in the Hills already had an economic incentive policy in place.
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.
Such incentives have helped Lake in the Hills in the past. For example, a sales-tax sharing program played a huge part in drawing Costco, the village's number one sales tax generator, to Lake in the Hills in 2003.
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 retail vacancy in Algonquin or Lake in the Hills would you most like to see filled? What would you like to see go in there?