August 25, 2013
CenterPoint Properties likes to provide visitors a bird's-eye view of the $1 billion industrial park it developed that houses a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway rail-to-truck transfer facility and half a dozen warehouses. Some 3,800 jobs were created. The view from Elwood Village Hall is quite different. Village President Bill Offerman feels CenterPoint reneged on pledges to build a hotel and restaurants and create upward of 12,000 jobs. The project didn't generate any taxes while it was under construction. So when the developer asked for about $88 million in reimbursements, the village issued TIF notes, basically IOU vouchers, to CenterPoint. The notes paid interest of 10 percent compounded twice a year for 20 years. "Ten percent is really high no matter what we are talking about," said Brian Battle, director of trading at Chicago-based Performance Trust Capital Partners, an investment adviser. Battle said 10 percent was about double the rate of debt issued by some of the highest-rated states like Texas or Virginia.