TIF Money is Slush Fund Money

Honey Jug
Honey Jug

More on the planned development in the former MB Financial building that we’ve discussed previously, one that is getting millions of taxpayer dollars in a time of fiscal austerity for the non-developer constituencies…

Joseph Antunovich, president of Antunovich Associates, the designer of the project, said the area west of Halsted Street is “very emerging.” Over the past 10 to 15 years, he said, it has been developed into a desirable area.

Ald. Walter Burnett, 27th, said the area’s silent majority has supported the project, called Gateway to the West Loop, because it would create more than 200 construction jobs immediately and more jobs when the retail stores and the hotel open.

The developer, CD-EB/EP Retail JV, is asking the city for $7 million in tax increment financing to help pay for the first phase of the project, estimated to cost about $41.8 million.

The outlay needs approval from the City Council, though that is likely with Burnett’s endorsement. There is no financing in place for the second phase of the project, which includes the hotel.

Sy Taxman, one of the developers, said he is in conversations with two companies interested in developing a corporate hotel at the site. But, he said, construction isn’t expected to start until the first phase is substantially completed.

After a year without new hotel developments downtown, there are at least three on the way, and the city is likely to see more, said Adam McGaughy, executive vice president of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, a unit of the Chicago-based real estate firm with the same name.


(click here to continue reading Cityscapes: West Loop business owners, residents at odds over Antunovich-designed plan for mixed-use development.)

2 South Halsted

2 S. Halsted, Chicago

My point is the same: why does this developer need tax payer funding to build in such a “desirable area”? Slush funds, in other words, for 200 temporary construction jobs, plus a few minimum wage jobs afterwords. I’d rather the $7,000,000 be spent on repairing water mains, sewers, potholes, teachers, firemen, yadda yadda, and not to help make profits for building developers, and yield campaign contributions to Walter Burnett, Jr.

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