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Neal & Leroy, LLC has unique experience in historic preservation. We have advised and represented municipalities such as Chicago, Evanston and Oak Park in the designation of historic landmarks and landmark districts. We have appeared on behalf of owners in administrative proceedings, seeking relief from landmark restrictions, and also in court, successfully defending injunctive actions. Our attorneys are recognized for their teaching in historic preservation and service to historic preservation organizations.

Neal & Leroy negotiated the purchase of relocation for the historic Harriet F. Rees House, which moved a block north to make way for expanded facilities near McCormick Place. Our attorneys obtained the necessary local, state, and federal approvals related to the historic preservation of the building and assembled an experienced team to move the house. The move took place over two days on November 11-12, 2014.

Areas of Concentration 

  • Representing owners in proceedings to designate historic properties as landmarks or place them on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • Modifying, developing, or protecting historic properties.

  • Assisting owners of landmark and historic properties with qualification for tax benefits, such as TIF (tax increment finance grants), federal historic tax credits, Illinois or county real estate tax freezes, and donations of preservation easements for historic properties.

  • Court and administrative proceedings relating to all of these matters.

Key Representative Matters 

Village of Oak Park 

  • Neal & Leroy served as legal counsel and guided Village development through the zoning process, including setting standards for rehabilitating and reusing retail establishments in the historic Dreschler Building as part of the redevelopment process.

  • Neal & Leroy advised the Village with respect to removal of the Colt building, a building mistakenly receiving historic recognition.

  • Neal & Leroy successfully defended the Village in administrative and court proceedings, including appeal, with respect to numerous applications for demolition permits by different owners of buildings.

City of Chicago 

  • Neal & Leroy served as legal counsel in the valuation and acquisition of landmarks, acquiring such historic properties as the Reliance Building (Hotel Burnham), Chicago Theater, Ford Theater, and the Oliver Building for the City of Chicago. 

  • Neal & Leroy's Richard Friedman provided representation in a court proceeding and appeal to successfully recover damages from an owner for intentional destruction of a historic landmark.

Chicago Board of Education 

  • Neal & Leroy represented the Chicago Board of Education before the Illinois State Historic Preservation Agency regarding inclusion of school property in National Register District. 

  • Neal & Leroy advised the Board with respect to Landmark/National Register impact on numerous school buildings. 

University of Illinois 

  • Neal & Leroy served as legal counsel in the negotiated redevelopment agreement with the City of Chicago allowing rehab to, relocation of, and financial support for historic Maxwell Street properties owned by the University of Illinois. 

  • Neal & Leroy successfully defended the University of Illinois in Federal District Court from challenges to South Campus development by historic advocates.

Landmarks Organization 

  • Neal & Leroy defended a landmarks organization in court against claims related to preservation easements and charitable gifts.

  • Neal & Leroy successfully enforced owners' compliance with their covenants to preserve their historic properties.

Historic Exchange Building 

  • Neal & Leroy assisted client in obtaining Class L property tax incentive from Cook County which reduced the client's property tax assessment levels for 12 years.

  • Neal & Leroy assisted client in obtaining permits for construction sympathetic to the building's historic status.

  • Neal & Leroy assisted client in obtaining the return of the historic statues and the necessary permits for their display on the private plaza.

Private Owners 

  • Neal & Leroy represented owners in proceedings to designate property as landmarks or for National Register Listings.

  • Neal & Leroy represented owners of buildings listed as orange rated on Chicago Historic Resources Survey.

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