Property databases make it easier for Lansing to attract businesses
by Patricia Muhammad
Note: Please see the updated version of this story here.
LANSING, Ill. (January 2018) – The Village of Lansing’s Economic Development department is making several changes to the Village website, including adding access to an updated, real-time database of available sites and available buildings. The database can be used as a marketing tool and as a means to spur economic development in the area.
Village Administrator Dan Podgorski said, “Some of the resources are already available on the current website and we plan on putting more information to it. Some of the information that’s up is already useful.” As shown below, the Economic Development and Planning tab of the Village website includes two sidebar links designed to give easy access to available properties and buildings. At the time of this reporting, those links were not actually connecting to their intended destination.
Property sites and buildings databases serve as valuable tools for municipalities and are designed to assist real estate agents and commercial businesses seeking to purchase buildings and available land sites in the area. Information contained within a property database varies, but common elements include list price, square footage, address, the year the building was built, and a photo of the property.
Landwatch.com is one example. Visitors can enter a zip code to find available properties within Lansing, and the listings include total cost of land, cost per acre, a description of the land, photo, real estate agency, and contact person. It’s not clear how up-to-date this database is.
Podgorski explained that there has been ongoing work dedicated to updating the database site and buildings link so developers and business owners will have more information about the availability of sites and buildings. The actual number of available buildings and land was not determined.
“It is the goal of the administration to have available for prospective developers and business owners, and residents to access our property search database,” Podgorski said. “Those searching for property information will be taken to a link and provided with information relative to a site or building that may be available for them. The link is available to everyone.” Podgorski agreed that finding information about available sites and buildings can be difficult for the average person, and the new updated link will serve as an invaluable tool.
“We make the information accessible so that we can streamline business development opportunities to interested developers, and residents looking to do business in Lansing. We want to make it easy for them to go out and find the information,” he said.
Podgorski added, “By far, the most important thing is to have information online and link it to all the sites and buildings along with pertinent data, so that people can have this information at their fingertips to make decisions more quickly.”
A great idea
“I think it is a great idea for the Village of Lansing to have a property search database,” said Sheryl Stewart-Caldwell, Economic Development Project Director for Cook County Planning & Development. “The presence of a property database creates accountability for the village, so it will know how much land and buildings are available for purchase. The database can also be used as a marketing tool.”
John Watson, Economic Development Director for South Holland, says there are several property search databases available for public use, including the Local Information System (LOIS), and Co-star. “As part of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, (SSMMA) most villages in the south suburbs, including Lansing, should have access to the LOIS property search database. To access the LOIS system, searchers would have to log onto the municipality’s website. You will find that the system is a divide between available land sites and available buildings in the area,” Watson said.
Based on the URL of the error page that appears when users click on the links from the Village website, Lansing is using LOIS. The error page provides links to the LOIS home page, and from there users can start a search, though several clicks are required to specify Lansing results.
Podgorski stated that the Village is aware of the various property search databases, but hasn’t determined if the Village will choose to use outside sources. “There are commercial entities which list commercial sites and buildings, but we haven’t decided if we are going to link to an outside site or whether we are going to repackage it in our own format.”
Podgorski says that the Village’s updated sites and building links will be used as a marketing tool to spur development in the Lansing area, which he says is experiencing positive, economic progress: “We are getting a lot of calls about development in Lansing. It takes time for deals to materialize. New businesses don’t happen overnight. You have to work new deals and phone calls and try to match up the right developer with the right property and the right package of incentives. I would be worried if we weren’t getting calls for development.”
Note: The Village is aware that the links in the sidebar of the Economic Development page of the Village website are not correct. When those links are updated, The Lansing Journal will update this story—and the links within this story—to reflect that change.