A proposal to create a new tax district along the Magnificent Mile has failed to advance in the City Council.
The proposed tax would have raised $742,000 in 2021, which would have been used to aid retailers’ recovery from Covid-19 and from looting that occurred earlier this year, according to Crain’s.
The Magnificent Mile Association, which represents landlords, hotels and other businesses on the street, supported the measure, but it faced opposition from Aldermen Brendan Reilly and Brian Hopkins who represent North Michigan Avenue. They argued that the approval process was rushed and flawed.
“A number of property owners look at this as yet another obstacle to their own individual recovery for their building, their property and their tenants at a time when many tenants are making decisions on whether or not they are going to remain in these buildings,” Reilly said at a meeting. “Many of them are fighting for rent concessions.”
The new taxing district would have raised funds for new security cameras, the promotion of Mag Mile businesses and pedestrian counters to track foot traffic. A surcharge would have been added to property tax bills in the district, which Reilly argued would have been passed along to tenants.
The vacancy rate for the Magnificent Mile has risen to 10.5 percent from 7.4 percent last year and 6.5 percent in 2018, according to CBRE. Despite a few openings, a number of closures, including Forever 21 and Best Buy, have hiked up that number. Locals worry that Gap and Macy’s will be next.
[Crain’s] — Sasha Jones