Southland Development Authority releases market report to encourage investment

The Southland Development Authority recently released a market report to encourage in investment in the 45 cities, villages and other municipalities in Chicago’s south suburbs.

The “2023 Market Report & Prospectus” charts growth, employment, transportation and spending data. Meant to appeal to prospective investors, it suggests that “the south suburbs are on the rise and ripe for new investments.”

“The south suburbs of Chicago have been overlooked for far too long. After decades of private and commercial divestments, big business closures, disparities in government-funded infrastructure and general economic inequality, this Lookbook shines a bright light on the opportunities that are right here in our backyard,” said Bo Kemp, CEO of the Southland Development Authority.

The nonprofit Southland Development Authority, which was launched by business, civic and government leaders in 2019, released the 156-page guide that highlights local real estate opportunities in the Southland between the Indiana state line to the east and Orland Park and Mokena to the west, stretching as far south as Beecher and Peotone and as far north as inner-ring suburbs bordering Chicago like Blue Island, Alsip and Calumet Park. It’s meant to help inform property developers, real estate professionals and business people, guiding them toward potential investments.

The report found office inventory grew by 0.3% or 34,251 square feet to 13.1 million last year. It had an occupancy rate of 94.1% and average rent of $20.24.

Retail space has declined by 0.1% or 21,525 square feet to 42.7 million square feet since 2018. The occupancy rate was 92.2% and the average rent was $15.70.

The Southland has 31,922 residential rental units with an occupancy rate of 95.8% and an average rental rate of $1.48 per square foot. Overall, the Southland has an estimated 750,000 residents or about 500 per square mile.

Industrial space has grown by 7.7 million square feet or 9% to 42.7 million square feet over the past five years. The average occupancy rate is 92.2% while the average rent is $15.70 per square foot.

Beer Geeks, one of the Region’s first, most beloved and most influential craft beer bars, closed after more than a decade and is being reimagined as a new concept.

The landmark 88-year-old castle-shaped White Castle in Whiting is coming down to be replaced with a newer, larger, more modern White Castle restaurant. 

A longtime staple in downtown Crown Point poured its last drink.

The longtime Westforth Sports gun shop is closing.

The Silver Line Building Products plant at 16801 Exchange Ave. will be shuttered permanently.

Brewfest in Highland will close in what’s been called “an end of an era.”

David’s Bridal filed for bankruptcy and could close all stores if no buyer emerges to save it.

The 88-year-old Whiting White Castle will be remembered with displays at museums in two different states.

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For years, the “millionaire’s club” met every morning in the corner booth of the historic 88-year-old White Castle at Indianapolis Boulevard and 119th Street in downtown Whiting. The landmark restaurant served its final slider Tuesday. 

One of Northwest Indiana’s most popular and enduring hobby shops is looking for a buyer after the longtime owner died.

J&L This N That Consignment Shop, a popular thrift store, closed in downtown Whiting after a run of several years.

A Calumet Region institution, Calumet Fisheries on the far South Side of Chicago, is temporarily closed after failing a city health inspection.

Just days after reopening after city health inspectors shut it down, Calumet Fisheries suffered a major fire.

Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant is no mas in Valparaiso.

Beer Geeks in Highland rebranded as B-Side Bar & Lounge and then closed within a few months.

Troubled retailer Bed Bath and Beyond will permanently close its Valparaiso location as it shutters more stores nationwide as it looks to restructure and shrink its footprint to save the struggling business.

Peoples Bank has shuttered its branch in downtown Hammond. 

Viking Artisan Ales will soon pour its last craft beer at its Merrillville taproom.

Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom is closing after 15 years at one of Northwest Indiana’s most prominent highway interchanges.

Walmart is closing its big-box store in Homewood.

The Chicago Auto Show, the nation’s largest auto show, returns to McCormick Place Saturday, running through Feb. 19.

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