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‘Cortland Cottages’ headed for TIF district

(Rob Winner – rwinner@shawmedia.com)
A sign for Cortland Cottages, a new residential development for older adults, is seen Tuesday near the corner of Robinson Avenue and Somonauk Road in Cortland.

CORTLAND – An age-restricted housing development is expected to be the first project to generate funds for Cortland’s new tax increment financing district.

Cortland trustees approved an ordinance Monday that will clear the way for the construction of a four-unit apartment building that will target people ages 55 or older.

George Caravelli, president of South Elgin-based developer Worthington Enterprises, Ltd., hopes to start construction of the “Cortland Cottages” project in November and have a model apartment ready by March.

He said the company is starting with one four-unit complex to test the market before completing the first phase, which includes six buildings with a total of 30 units.

Caravelli estimates it will cost $325,000 to $350,000 to build a single building. He plans to charge $750 a month for a one-bedroom apartment and $900 a month for a two-bedroom apartment.

He said the village’s new TIF district is what sealed the deal.

“The TIF district made it feasible,” he said. “It’s impossible to build new rentals at that price. ... The TIF was very important.”

The property tax revenue that local governments receive from land in a TIF district is frozen for a 23-year period. As redevelopment occurs in the district, the corresponding increase in property tax revenue is spent on improvements or incentives.

The first building is slated to be constructed at the corner of Llanos Street and Robinson Avenue. A sign with a rendering of what the building will look like has already generated about 20 calls from people interested in the apartments, which Caravelli said is a good sign.

Town President Robert Seyller said the TIF district would capture 25 percent of the real estate taxes generated from the housing project, but he didn’t have an estimate of what that figure would be.

Tenants would be responsible for utility bills, but would not have to shovel snow or mow the lawn. Each apartment also will come with its own laundry machines and a two-car attached garage.

“There’s a demand for [senior housing] everywhere,” Caravelli said, adding that not everyone can afford to live in high-end senior complexes. “We want to do something that the average person can afford and that fits their lifestyle.”

Caravelli said adding residences could eventually increase the number of retailers interested in moving to Cortland. He said if all goes well with the first phase of the project, he may plan to build a multistory senior housing complex.

He’s also considering constructing a multipurpose building that could include a coffee shop and bakery, with apartments on the second floor.

Seyller said a bank has also expressed some interest in moving into the TIF district area, which encompasses most of the town south of the railroad tracks, with a few exceptions.

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