University of Illinois College of Law, J.D.
St. Ambrose University, B.A., magna cum laude
Matt Norton has focused his practice on real estate development, local government law, and urban revitalization for over 30 years.
For developers and property owners throughout the Chicago metropolitan area, Mr. Norton obtains municipal approvals for real estate development projects, including zoning changes, special uses, annexation and development agreements, subdivisions, and planned unit developments. These projects include mixed-use residential and commercial developments (such as transit-oriented developments); manufacturing, warehousing, and industrial projects; senior living developments; and retail shopping centers.
Mr. Norton also represents municipal and other local government clients in real estate acquisition matters; annexation and development agreements; intergovernmental agreements for substantial public works projects; construction and consulting contracts; ethics compliance; license and concession agreements; compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, Open Meetings Act, and other “sunshine” laws; and other day-to-day corporate matters.
For both public and private sector clients, Mr. Norton assists in the creation of tax increment financing districts to incentivize the redevelopment of blighted areas, including downtown revitalization projects. He also counsels the firm’s clients in creating and obtaining other local government incentives, such as special service areas, sales tax sharing agreements, property tax abatements, and other incentives.
Recent Projects for Private Sector Clients:
- Veridian/Former Motorola Campus - Schaumburg. Represent the owner of 225 acres of the former Motorola factory and office campus in Schaumburg, in obtaining re-zoning, master development approvals, tax increment finance incentives, and other entitlements for its mixed-use residential, office, retail, and entertainment project. Approved plans allow a dense urban-style project, with no height or floor area limits and up to 3.3 million square feet of office, over 200,000 square feet of retail, and over 3,000 multi-family and townhome units.
- Maywood Park Racetrack Redevelopment – Melrose Park. Represent the purchasers and developers of the long-closed Maywood Park horse racing track. Previously located in unincorporated Cook County, the property was annexed into the Village of Melrose Park and zoned to allow a 600,000+ square foot industrial development on the bulk of the property and retail and restaurant uses along the North Avenue frontage.
- Plum Farms – Hoffman Estates. Represented the property owners in obtaining annexation, zoning, and other master development approvals from the Village of Hoffman Estates for the 185-acre “Plum Farms” development. This is a mixed-use project that may include up to 1,500 high-rise apartments, townhomes, and single-family homes in a “traditional neighborhood” setting and will likely include approximately 155,000 square feet of retail and other commercial space.
- Industrial Park – Western Suburbs. Represent a developer of industrial parks, in its efforts to obtain annexation, zoning, and tax increment finance approvals for an approximately 200-acre industrial park in a west suburban community.
- Data Center – Chicago. Represent a developer, owner, and operator of data centers, in negotiating zoning issues in Chicago for a new 4-story, 175,000 square foot data center, with a project value of approximately $200 million.
- Senior Care Facilities – Chicago and Suburbs. Represent national owners and developers of assisted living/skilled nursing and Continuing Care Retirement facilities in Chicago and the suburbs in obtaining necessary zoning, subdivision, and other development approvals
- Land Fill Annexation – Buffalo Grove. Represented the owner of a capped and closed clean construction and demolition debris landfill, in obtaining annexation and zoning approvals from the Village of Buffalo Grove. The approvals allow a retail and commercial project on the property.
Recent Projects for Public Sector Clients:
- City of Chicago - Red and Purple Line TIF. As special counsel, represented the City of Chicago in the creation of a tax increment financing district that will partially finance the CTA’s $2+ billion “Red and Purple Modernization Program.” This is the largest TIF district created by the City. It runs parallel to a north-side portion of the Red Line (one-half mile on each side) and includes 16,704 parcels of land and 3,126 acres.
- City of Chicago - Density Bonus/Neighborhood Opportunity Fund Ordinance. As special counsel, represented the City of Chicago on a pro bono basis to re-draft the density bonus provisions of the City’s zoning ordinance. The former ordinance allowed density for compensating, but ill-defined, “amenities.” The new ordinance allows an owner within the City’s “D” zoning districts to obtain bonuses if their projects are approved as planned developments and they pay for the bonus based on a uniform formula. The bonus payments are used in part to fund the newly created “Neighborhood Opportunity Fund,” which funds commercial projects in low income neighborhoods in the city.
- Illinois Medical District - Gateway Project. As special counsel, represented the Illinois Medical District Commission in connection with the planned “Gateway Project,” a re-development of a 9.5-acre vacant parcel owned by the Commission in the heart of the Illinois Medical District. The project has an estimated value of $300 million and is projected to include one million square feet of mixed uses, including laboratory, medical office, retail, hotel, young professional housing, urban agriculture, and parks and other public uses.
- Lake County Forest Preserve District – Land Acquisitions. As general counsel, represent the District in its ongoing land acquisition program. The District owns over 30,000 acres of open space and other public lands and public access improvements. Notable recent acquisitions include the last portion of trail segment necessary to connect the Des Plaines River Trail from Lake-Cook Road to the Illinois-Wisconsin state line and a series of acquisitions to expand the District’s Ray Lake Forest Preserve, including the approximately 340-acre Cuneo property.
- Palos Park – Golf Course Annexation Dispute. As special counsel, teamed with litigation partners to successfully represent the Village of Palos Park in an annexation dispute with a neighboring municipality. Cog Hill golf course and two other golf courses in unincorporated Cook County sought annexation of land totaling almost 1,500 acres to Palos Park. A neighboring municipality initiated its own “hostile” annexation attempt, in an effort to thwart Palos Park’s annexations. Palos Park prevailed in the circuit court and appellate court proceedings.
- Mundelein - Downtown Redevelopment. As special counsel, represent the Village of Mundelein in its downtown redevelopment efforts, including the creation of tax increment finance districts encompassing over 100 acres. This work included advising the village in the “de-TIF” and “re-TIF” of a portion of that area, to “re-start the clock” on the TIF’s statutory time period, helping the village recover time lost to the Great Recession. The work has also included planned unit development ordinances, redevelopment agreements, and re-zoning ordinances for notable projects, including the Cardinal Square multi-family project allowing up to 12 buildings, 541 condominiums/apartments, and 41 townhomes, in buildings up to 7 stories in height.
- Mixed Use Redevelopment of Regional Mall. Represented the owner and developers of a 1,000,000+ square foot regional shopping mall in the Chicago Metropolitan Area, in obtaining $27 million in tax increment financing and sales tax rebate approvals, to replace a closing department store anchor with more than 300 luxury apartments, high-end retail stores, renowned restaurants, fitness options, and outdoor entertainment space.
- St. Ambrose University, President’s Advisory Council
- Holy Trinity High School, Advisory Council
- Homewood golf course redevelopment could sprout 80-foot tall buildings, according to warehouse plansChicago Tribune, February 16, 2021
- June 8, 2017