The tax increment financing (TIF) for two Chicago megaprojects now has an apparent thumbs-up after Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot declared her support.This follows Mayor Ramh Emanuel’s Monday announcement—following months of aggressive endorsement—that the City Council finance committee should delay vote on the controversial project subsidies.
Lightfoot announced that Sterling Bay, developer of the 50-acre Lincoln Yards project, and Related Midwest, which plans to redevelop 62 acres into The 78, have agreed to contract minority- and women-owned firms for a larger portion of the projects. The value of the contracts, according to Lightfoot, rose by $80 million to a combined $400 million.
“There remains much more work to do in this regard, and I am hopeful we’ll be able to get there,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “Under the terms of both redevelopment agreements, we have confirmed that the city has additional controls over these projects, which I am confident will allow for us to further improve these deals and to bring community voices into the process going forward.”
Assuming the new TIF districts make it out of the finance committee this morning, they could be fully sanctioned at a meeting of the full City Council later today. The proposed Cortland/Chicago River TIF district encompass Sterling Bay’s transformative Lincoln Yards project along the North Branch of the Chicago River. On the South Branch of the river, the Roosevelt/Clark TIF district would contain the fallow land that Related Midwest intends to develop into the city’s “78th neighborhood,” The 78. The TIFs would supply approximately $1.3 billion to Sterling Bay and $700 million to Related Midwest, to be used for infrastructure improvements.
“I am appreciative of Mayor Emanuel and finance committee chairman O’Connor for agreeing to defer Monday’s vote on Lincoln Yards and The 78 to allow my team additional time to seek clarity and address our concerns,” Lightfoot said in her statement. “Based on subsequent conversations with Mayor Emanuel, community stakeholders and a number of aldermen, we expect that this deal is likely to pass.”