The Real Deal Chicago

Sterling Bay’s Lincoln Yards TIF district could cost taxpayers $1.3B: report

City documents predict $400M in financing costs on top of $900M earmarked for the development
February 05, 2019 01:00PM

Sterling Bay’s Andy Gloor and a rendering of of Lincoln Yards (Credit: Sterling Bay)

The tax increment financing district proposed for the area around Sterling Bay’s Lincoln Yards megadevelopment could end up using $1.3 billion in property tax revenue for the project, well above the $800 million figure city officials have cited.

City documents now show $900 million from the district would be earmarked for the development, plus another $400 million to cover financing costs, according to the Chicago Reader.

In a TIF district, tax revenue generated by the increase in property values is diverted into a special fund to be used within the district. It is not paid to the city, Chicago Public Schools or other taxing bodies.

City officials in November said the proposed Cortland/Chicago River TIF district would spend an estimated $800 million on Lincoln Yards.

But city documents released in December show that figure has increased to $900 million, including $25 million for lawyers, publicists, architects and marketing, and $25 million for acquisition and demolition of buildings, according to the Reader.

Some $800 million is earmarked for infrastructure improvements in the $6 billion Lincoln Yards, which would add up to 13 million square feet of office, hotel, retail and residential space, including 6,000 new units of housing.

The project received initial city approval, but Alderman James Cappleman (46th), the new chairman of the City Council’s Zoning Committee, said he wants to put the brakes on it until Sterling Bay increases the amount of affordable housing in its plans.

[Chicago Reader] — John O’Brien