Landlords — Blackstone, Simon included — owe Cook County big in back taxes

Firms are short total of nearly $200M in property taxes from 2019 and over $1B from 2020

Chicago /
Apr.April 01, 2021 04:34 PM
Blackstone Group’s Willis Tower, Simon Property Group’s Woodfield Mall and the Hilton brand’s Hilton Chicago Downtown are among the properties that still owe Cook County back taxes. (Google Maps, Simon, WikiMedia / Chris6d)

Hilton brand’s Hilton Chicago Downtown, Blackstone Group’s Willis Tower and Simon Property Group’s Woodfield Mall (Google Maps, Simon, WikiMedia / Chris6d)

UPDATED, April 2, 2021, 8:28 a.m.: Covid vaccine distribution may be ramping up but Cook County landlords are still far behind on their commercial property tax bills. How far behind?

Landlords owe Cook County nearly $200 million in commercial property taxes from part of 2019, and another $1.1 billion from all of last year, according to Crains.

The county had extended the deadline for paying the 2019 bill from August to October of last year, and landlords did pay down a significant amount they owed. Landlords still have until next month to pay 2020 bills without incurring a penalty, according to the report.

The amount owed for 2019 is about 6 percent of the total taxes due that year, and the $1 billion-plus for 2020 is more than a third, according to the report.

Chicago area malls and hotels — like the retail and hospitality industries nationwide — have been slammed by the pandemic, and landlords have reported lower rent collections.

Among the firms that owe taxes from 2020 are some of the biggest in the business. Blackstone Group owes $19 million on Willis Tower for its first installment and Simon Property Group still hasn’t paid nearly $11 million on its Woodfield Mall, the publication reported.

In a statement, David Moore of Blackstone subsidiary EQ Office said the firm is “participating in a program that is available to all commercial landlords and we will pay the taxes when they are due.”

Landlords in arrears on their taxes from 2019 include the owners of the Hilton Chicago Downtown and luxury Drake Hotel, along with the W Hotel. Calumet City’s River Oaks Center mall and Lincoln Mall in Matteson — which closed in 2018 — also still owe back taxes, according to the report.

[Crain’s’] — Alexi Friedman 

Note: The story includes an updated statement from David Moore of EQ Office.


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