COOK COUNTY – A coalition of civic, community, and political leaders from the Southland has announced the formation of the Southland Development Authority, a public-private, nonprofit economic engine designed to bring new economic investments and promote growth in Cook County’s south suburbs.

Decades ago, the south suburbs were the heart of the Chicagoland economy, a bustling hub for manufacturing, offering affordable, quality communities for families. Over time, a cycle of fragmentation and disinvestment occurred, reducing private sector investment and increasing the strain on local governments and taxpayers. This led to diminished services and declining property values.

The Southland Development Authority has been established to reverse this disinvestment cycle by investing in real estate, manufacturing, and people. This innovative approach to economic development will provide new sources of financial tools and capital necessary to support effective management and new property investment.

“The development authority will be the lead partner with other developers, investors, and stakeholders in jumpstarting economic growth in this region,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “The launch of this new development authority is not just big news for the south suburbs, but big news for all of Chicagoland.”

The Southland Development Authority will collaborate with organizations such as the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association and the South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority. It aims to harness existing assets in the region to attract major scale projects and provide targeted aid and professional services to a multitude of small businesses, many of which have been operating for generations.

Through comprehensive, mutually reinforcing industry, workforce, and community strategies, the Southland Development Authority will build new institutional capacity, financial resources, and significant industrial and residential development.

The coalition behind SDA includes representatives from the region’s 40-plus municipalities, and the organization will be governed by a 16-member board of directors. “It will serve as a single point of entry for developers and investors,” said Diane Williams, Village of Flossmoor trustee.

SDA aims to reestablish the Southland as an economic powerhouse through housing finance products and innovative centers for food packaging, intermodal logistics, and metals and manufacturing. Additionally, its efforts will establish the Southland as a center for green tourism in Chicagoland, bolster housing stock, provide specialized business support, and invest in sector-based workforce training.

The Southland Development Authority will diligently use collective resources and business networks to connect business owners, investors, and individuals in the Southland with key resources to operate and thrive in the region. This includes equipping mid-size and small businesses in its Business Growth Services Program with customized advice and consulting services, and helping local residents access the tools needed to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

With deep institutional knowledge of the Southland’s people, markets, and history, and a multifaceted, experienced team, the Southland Development Authority is poised to be a powerful partner for any individual, business, or investor.