State approves funding for low-income housing for Near North TIF district

Pushed for by the mayor, $36M annual funding allows city to extend TIF district for a dozen years, to help redevelop former Cabrini-Green complex

Chicago /
Jul.July 01, 2020 01:00 PM
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the former Cabrini-Green public housing complex, which the city is redeveloping with help from TIF district funding (Getty)

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the former Cabrini-Green public housing complex, which the city is redeveloping with help from TIF district funding (Getty)

Roughly $36 million a year will go to low-income housing on Chicago’s Near North Side, a move the state approved and that’s in line with Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s push to reform Tax Increment Financing districts.

The mayor had been pushing for the funding, which was approved by the General Assembly, according to Crain’s. The state’s decision allows Chicago to extend the Near North TIF district by another 13 years, Crain’s reported. The Near North TIF district, one of the city’s largest by tax funding, had been set to expire June 26.

TIFs have in the past been criticized as real estate-driven slush funds. Last October, Lightfoot said the city would allocate $250 million from its coffers to improve commercial blocks in 10 neighborhoods on the South and West sides as part of her measures to overhaul the TIF system.

The Near North TIF is over 20 years old, and was intended as a way to redevelop the neighborhood surrounding the old Cabrini-Green public housing development. The Chicago Housing Authority has sought private developers to build mixed-income complexes throughout the 40 acres where the complex once stood. In 2017, the Chicago Housing Authority, selected Hunt Companies to take the lead on redeveloping a 6.3-acre portion. Chicago-based Imagine Group was selected as a co-developer.

The decision to steer millions in TIF funding to the Near North district comes as the city faces a budget shortfall of at least $700 million — made worse by the coronavirus — with the threat of another property tax hike back on the table. [Crain’s] — Alexi Friedman


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