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Article posted: 1/8/2013 5:21 PM

Des Plaines supports tax break for bus company

By Deborah Donovan

The Des Plaines City Council supports a property tax break to help Motor Coach Industries move its headquarters from Schaumburg and an existing service center from a different site in Des Plaines.

The company plans to consolidate 37 full-time office employees now in Schaumburg and 30 from the Des Plaines site in a vacant building at 200 E. Oakton St. in Des Plaines. Company representatives also expressed hope of hiring 12 more people in the next few years.

Acting on the advice of a municipality, Cook County decides whether to grant the tax incentive when vacant industrial sites are rehabilitated. The tax break means the property is assessed at 10 percent of market value for 10 years with increases in the following two years before returning to the regular 25 percent assessment in the 13th year.

The 80,000-square-foot building has been vacant since 2007, according to documents presented at Monday's city council meeting. KTR Illinois, the owner of the property, has spent $1.7 million on the roof, parking lot and facade and plans to spend $2 million more on behalf of MCI.

Aldermen expressed a desire to keep MCI in Des Plaines, and a letter from Chicago law firm Liston & Tsantilis said the company might otherwise leave the city and even the county. The company, which has 2,000 employees in the United States and Canada, had its headquarters in Des Plaines from 1996 to 2000 when it moved to Schaumburg.

The Class 6B tax incentive is usually granted when a property changes hands, not for leases, according to a memo from Alexander Dambach, the city's director of community and economic development. If the tax break is granted, MCI will lease the property for just over 12 years and expects to pay about $5 million a year in sales tax through selling vehicles and parts from the center.

MCI will move from offices at 1700 E. Golf Road in Schaumburg, and the service center at 10 E. Golf Road in Des Plaines.

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