Allstate selling Northbrook headquarters could impact local school districts

NORTHBROOK, Ill. (WLS) -- Allstate's decision to sell off its huge corporate campus in Northbrook could have significant ramifications for two school districts that rely heavily on the insurance company for property tax revenue.

Allstate has been a good neighbor in Northbrook for the past 50 years, but now, like so many industries feeling the impact of the work-from-home movement, the insurance giant is selling off its 186-acre corporate campus. That has two local school districts' attention.

"It's certainly something that District 31 is looking very carefully at, and has been monitoring," said Ares Delianis, attorney for West Northfield School District 31.

The money Allstate pays in local property taxes funds schools. The Cook County Treasurer's Office said Allstate paid more than $4.7 million in property taxes in 2021. Of that, approximately $1.9 million went to District 31, which is 41% of the total taxes they collected.

If Allstate moves out and the property goes vacant, the company could appeal to get their taxes reduced. And if that happens, the tax burden could shift to homeowners in Northbrook.

But that's not a sure thing, experts say.

"First of all, they have no right to, they can make a claim and support it with evidence but that's a one-year claim per vacancy, we call economic vacancy, and we want to know, have you made your highest and best efforts to lease or sell that property," said Michael Carbonargi, commissioner on the Cook County Board of Review.

It's also quite unlikely that Allstate will move quickly to sell the property.

"If history is any guide, you'll see a lot of brokers, you'll see the real estate division of Allstate sitting down with local leaders to say, we want to get this property, a new tenant or new owner, as soon as possible," Cabonargi said, noting how quickly the Kraft Company found a buyer for its property.

"If it were converted to a multi-tenant situation, I think occupancy could increase dramatically. And you'd have more vitality, more energy, more going on at that intersection," Dalianis said.

That could end up generating more tax revenue for District 31 and District 225, which is the local high school district impacted by Allstate's move. In that case, the districts could still be in good hands with whomever buys the property.
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