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Central Business District

The vibrant downtown shopping district is an upscale urban outdoor  
shopping center filled with one-of-kind boutiques, jewelry stores, national retailers, home furnishings CBD Centralspecialty shops, unique restaurants, businesses catering to beauty and personal care, and home to the office core. The Central Business District is also host to the Highland Park Hospital complex, the seat of local government, and the City's growing multifamily residential areas.

It has always been and continues to be a very special place in Highland Park. For many, it defines the City in a physical sense, and confers a shared sense of community for all Highland Park residents. The Central Business District is approximately 106 acres, home to about 450 businesses, and has a daytime population of close to 9,000. Within a 1.5 mile radius of the downtown the consumer population is 22,155, within a 4 mile radius it increases to 71,084, within a 7.5 mile radius it increases to 216,737, and within a 10 mile radius the consumer population increases to 519,900.

For more information concerning available properties in Highland Park, please contact the Office of Business Development at 847.926.1027.

Special Service Area 16

In 2007, the City approved a Special Service Area (SSA) for the Central Business District (CBD) for a three year period. The budget levy was $300,000 per year assessed on all impacted properties in the SSA boundary. That SSA expired in 2010 and was thereafter extended for another three years through December 31, 2013. In November 2013, the City Council approved a three-year extension of the Central Business District Special Service Area (SSA) Number 16 effective January 1, 2014 through 2017. The approved budget levy was $300,000 per year to be assessed on all impacted properties in the SSA boundary. At the request of the Alliance, the City levied $200,000 for tax year 2015.

At the 2015 annual meeting of the Central Business District Property Owners Association (POA), the POA members voted to request that the City Council reduce the levy in Special Service Area (SSA) 16 from $300,000 to $230,000 for tax year 2016. This levy request was made because the Alliance’s current cash balance will be adequate to cover costs for the budget year. Even with a levy of $230,000, the Alliance is still projected to have a $102,000 cash balance at the end of 2016.

The City has been working very closely with the Central Business District Property Owners Association and an Action Plan has been drafted that sets forth the responsibilities of the Alliance (public/private partnership managing the SSA), the POA and the City. Working in concert with the property owners and business representatives, the City is committed to working diligently to continue to enhance the business climate in the Central Business District (CBD) and the community overall.

Regular progress reports are provided to property owners and business owners regarding infrastructure improvements, maintenance efforts, business retention and other activities planned within the CBD.

Special Service Area 16 is managed by a public-private partnership called the Alliance. The Alliance is an Illinois not-for-profit corporation that is tax exempt pursuant to Section 501(c) (6) of the Internal Revenue Code. The purpose of the Alliance is to “maintain and improve the economic vitality of the Highland Park, Illinois Central Business District through the retention, expansion and attraction of all types of commercial enterprise that are conducive to the maintenance and improvement of the quality of life in Highland Park”. According to the Bylaws, the Alliance is organized for the purpose of achieving the following objectives:

(a) Developing and implementing promotional, marketing, advertising, and branding campaigns;

(b) Strengthening the local economy through the retention and expansion of existing businesses, the attraction of new businesses, and the achievement of a viable tenant mix;

(c) Supporting, sponsoring, and participating in civic and cultural events;

(d) Encouraging and enhancing the quality of the business and community environment within the B-4 & B-5 Zoning Districts of the City;

If the City determines that excess revenue exists in the Special Service Area Fund at the end of the life of the SSA, and if the option to abate a portion of the final tax levy for the Special Service Area is no longer available, then the excess funds would be refunded to the taxpayers of record for all parcels within the SSA.

SSA 16 Map
SSA 16 Property Identification Number List

Click below for available resources for the Central Business District:

Downtown Highland Park Alliance

Highland Park Chamber of Commerce