The Real Deal Chicago

Aldermen shelve plan that could kill $1.5B in incentives for mega projects

The group is still pushing tax increment financing reforms that could block subsidies for Lincoln Yards, The 78 and other projects
December 12, 2018 09:00AM

From left: David Reifman, Goose Island, and Rahm Emanuel (Credit: Department of Urban & Regional Planning, Port Urbanism, and Getty Images)

A group of aldermen have pushed the pause button on a move that would eliminate some $1.5 billion in incentives for a handful of mega developments now in the works.

The aldermen are pushing for changes that would limit using tax increment financing — TIF — district dollars to projects on property that is blighted, “vacant and/or obsolete,” and would not be possible without TIF money, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The new restrictions could jeopardize subsidies eyed for some big projects that haven’t officially gotten off the ground, like Sterling Bay’s Lincoln Yards, Related Midwest’s The 78, Tribune Media’s River District and the redevelopment of the old Michael Reese Hospital site by Farpoint Development and McLaurin Development.

In a last-minute compromise Tuesday, the aldermen backing the reforms agreed to try to work out a compromise on the issue with the Emanuel administration, which supports the TIF subsidies for the mega projects, but the aldermen said they will push for a vote next month if a deal can’t be reached.

The aldermen believe such mega projects — whose developers stand to reap significant profits — do not need the city incentives for the construction.

David Reifman, commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development, told the City Club on Monday the city will need to help pay for infrastructure improvements using TIF money in order to get the mega projects off the ground. The payoff will be the billions in investment and tens of thousands of new jobs generated by the projects, he said. [Chicago Sun-Times] — John O’Brien