New Opportunity Fund Leads to $1.5 Million Investment in Kankakee


New Opportunity Fund Leads to $1.5 Million Investment in Kankakee


October 09, 2020

KANKAKEE, IL - (October 9, 2020) – Doug Baum of Baum Investment Group LLC, has created a $1.5 million opportunity fund to invest into the City of Kankakee’s Riverfront Opportunity Zone. This major investment will help to catalyze sustainable residential, commercial and light industrial development in Kankakee's Historic Downtown District, along its riverfront, and throughout the rest of the Zone. With most of the opportunity fund investment taking place in major cities across the United States, the formation of this fund provides a local mechanism to attract additional impact investment.


Kankakee is an ideal opportunity zone for investors like Doug Baum. This past year, Kankakee County was ranked the #1 in the Midwest for 5-year growth by Area Development and is labeled as a Leading Metro Location. The City is also #1 in Illinois in Small Metro for Job and Tech Growth and has been rated #1 in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 according to the Milken Institute. It is also #6 in the USA for Cost of Doing Business and earned a 2019 Forbes ranking for Best Small Places for Business and Careers.


“The City of Kankakee is the only municipality in Kankakee County designated as an Opportunity Zone. This designation serves as another tool for investors. And fostering economic development in the heart of downtown Kankakee is vital to moving Kankakee Forward.  Over the last few years, the administration has been working to expand development tools, revitalize the central business district, and partner alongside business owners and investors to address their needs. These efforts have allowed the City to leverage relationships between established business owners while welcoming new investors.  I am excited to partner with Doug Baum and look forward to development that will meet the needs of local entrepreneurs and residents,” said Mayor Wells-Armstrong.


In 2019, local developer Mike Pinski, seeing the marketability of downtown Kankakee, shared his vision for Kankakee with Doug Baum and it sparked an interest. Baum has previously developed numerous areas such as the Green Exchange in Chicago and Block 44 in Boise, Idaho and continues to lead Baum Development with successful development projects across the United States. Pinski, along with the assistance of Jeff Bennett, a managing partner at McColly-Bennett Real Estate, invited Baum to Kankakee.  After that visit, in January of 2020, he purchased the Clocktower building and PNC Bank building.


"We are always long-term players in any community we are involved in and look to develop impactful properties that benefit the residents,” said Doug Baum. “The opportunity zone is a great tool that incentivizes people to take an enduring approach with their projects.  We plan to do some exciting and transformative work in Downtown Kankakee in the next few years."


So, what is an Opportunity Zone, and what does this mean for the City of Kankakee? In 2017 under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Opportunity Zones were created across the United States. These zones are in lower income census tracts and are ideal locations for investors to develop due to certain federal capital gains tax advantages. In fact, the country has over 8,700 zones covering every state. Opportunity Funds, like the one Doug Baum created for Kankakee, can be invested in Opportunity Zones to receive tax advantages.


One of the highlights of Opportunity Zones is the long-term investment it can provide that community. These zones encourage developers to stay plugged in for at least 10 years with at least 90 percent of their Opportunity Fund going directly into the Opportunity Zone. This kind of long-term investment can increase the values of surrounding residential properties and continue to make surrounding areas more valuable. Besides Opportunity Zones, the City of Kankakee is an ideal investment area because there are multiple other incentives for developments such as Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) Districts, Enterprise Zones, Historic Tax Credit (HTC) Districts, and New Market Tax Credits (NMTC).


“Mr. Baum, has many years of experience in transformational development projects across the US”, adds ECDA Director Barbi Brewer-Watson.  “I am so grateful that Mr. Baum is partnering with local developers and factoring in community impact to all of his projects.  With his expertise and our City’s other incentives, we are attracting additional world class investors’ attention too!  We have much to be excited about for Kankakee.”


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About the Economic and Community Development Agency (ECDA):

The Kankakee Economic and Community Development (ECDA) is a local government agency whose mission is to improve the lives of Kankakee residents and enhance the economic vitality of communities through housing, economic development and community development. The ECDA administers programs that serve the neighborhoods and residents of the City of Kankakee provided by federal, state and local funding. For more information, contact ECDA at 815-933-0506, Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.


About the City of Kankakee, Illinois:

The City of Kankakee is dedicated to protecting, building and nurturing the community while enhancing lives. We are a historic, vibrant and active riverfront community. We continue to transform into an extraordinary place to dream, grow and thrive. Embracing our diversity, we strive to be progressive, inclusive and innovative. For more information on the City of Kankakee, please visit the website at