January 14, 2011

City Council Approves Ordinances Supporting Incentives For Economic Development and Rehabilitation Projects

The Chicago City Council today approved seven ordinances supporting the construction of new retail, the rehabilitation of commercial and industrial properties and neighborhood revitalization.

Molly Sullivan    312.744.2976

mollysullivan@cityofchicago.org

“We remain committed to bringing increased economic opportunity to communities citywide,” Daley said.  “These ordinances will work to revitalize our neighborhoods by delivering economic results and jobs for a prosperous and sustainable future.”

Class 7b Classification for Costco Wholesale Corporation

The first ordinance supports a Class 7b property tax incentive appeal application that will provide a tax break to Costco Wholesale Corp. for the their proposed 150,000 square foot warehouse club they plan to construct in the City’s Near West Side community.

The ordinance is required as part of a Class 7b property tax incentive appeal application.  The Class 7b incentive is designed to provide tax benefits to qualified commercial projects in areas in need of development.

The retailer proposes to lease 16 acres of land from the Illinois Medical District and build a new store in the 1400 block of South Ashland Avenue.  Costco warehouses are designed to help small-to-medium-sized businesses reduce costs in purchasing for resale and for everyday business use. Individuals may also purchase for their personal needs.  The merchant offers groceries, household items and office supplies in bulk at discount prices.

The planned $48.5 million development will help to reactivate vacant land and bring it back on the property tax rolls and also generate new sales tax revenue in the 2nd Ward.

If the plan is approved, the retailer will bring 125 full-time and 125 part-time jobs to the City, as well as create an estimated 600 jobs during the construction phase.

The Class 7b incentive reduces a commercial property's tax bill over 12 years by lowering the assessment level to 10% of market value for 10 years, before raising it to 15% and then 20%.

Norfolk Southern Railway Company

The next ordinance authorizes the negotiated sale of one vacant parcel to Norfolk Southern Railway Co. for the expansion of its 63rd Street intermodal rail yard facilities in the Greater Grand Crossing community.

The parcel, located at 301 East 63rd Street, will be sold for $216,928 to increase the railroad’s container and trailer capacity.  The railroad will make improvements to landscaping along 63rd Street and create a new gated entrance in the 20th Ward. 

The expansion is expected to create 25 temporary construction jobs and seven new full-time jobs.

Class 6b Classification for CCUE Investments, Inc.

An ordinance was also approved that authorizes the approval of a Class 6b incentive to help revive vacant industrial property into productive space for a manufacturer and distributor of soybeans in the New City community.

CCUE Investments, Inc. will rehabilitate the 24,000 square foot property at 1150 West 40th Street in the 12th Ward.  The work is being done of behalf of the Wholesale Bean Corporation, which will occupy 18,000 square feet of space in the building.  The remaining space will be leased to a future tenant.

Minimal exterior work will be performed on the 40-year-old property.  The project is expected to create 10 jobs.

The Cook County Class 6b classification is designed to encourage industrial development by offering a reduced property tax assessment rate for the development or revitalization of manufacturing or industrial properties for 12 years by lowering the assessment level to 10 % for the first 10 years, before raising it to 15% and then 20%.

IGA with CTA for Cermak-Chinatown Red Line Station

The next ordinance authorizes an intergovernmental agreement with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to provide $13.1 million in funding for improvements to the Cermak-Chinatown Red Line station.

Under the agreement, $12.5 million in federal stimulus funds and $600,000 in TIF assistance from the 24th/Michigan TIF District will be used for the renovation. 

The proposed scope of work will include a new escalator and elevator at the Cermak entrance, a new station house and platform renovation.  A new entrance is also planned for the north end of the station at Archer Avenue.  Additional work includes new landscaping, signage and accessible ramps.

Fire Work Community Art Studio

Also appropved was an ordinance authorizing a negotiated sale for the redevelopment of the former Engine Company 18 firehouse at 1123 W. Roosevelt Rd. on the City’s Near West Side.

The developer, 1123 West Roosevelt, LLC, will pay $325,000 to turn the City’s oldest fire station built in 1873 into the proposed Fire Work Community Art Studio. 

They will use $683,000 to refurbish the two-story firehouse over the next few years.  Plans include a 1,700 square foot first floor studio with kilns, glass ovens and a full commercial kitchen totaling 2,500 square feet that will focus on various forms of art training and healthy eating habits for children and teenagers; and two more studio spaces on the second floor dedicated to adult artists.  Green features will include solar panels and a green roof with a walking path.

Ping Tom Park Expansion

Approved also was an ordinance that finances the construction of an athletic field house in Ping Tom Park on the City’s Near South Side.

Funds for the $10 million proposal will be allocated from the River South TIF district.

The field house will include a main gym, club rooms and community meeting areas for nearby Chinatown residents and other users. Specific design details are anticipated to be completed in 2011. Construction is expected to start the following year.

The park is located on a 12-acre site adjacent to the South Branch of the Chicago River at 300 W. 19th St.  Initially featuring a children's playground, community gathering areas and Chinese landscape design elements, the park was later expanded north of 18th Street to include ball fields, play areas and a variety of river edge improvements that are currently under construction.

New North Park Soccer Field

The next ordinance approves TIF financing for a new soccer field in the North Park community.

The artificial turf field, built earlier this year in Kiwanis Park, 3315 W. Carmen Ave., is used by community residents and students of Von Steuben High School and North Park University. It replaced a natural-turf field that was in disrepair due to ongoing use.

TIF funds of $475,000 will be used to reimburse the Chicago Park District for its construction costs. Funds will come from the Lawrence/Kedzie TIF District.

Located on the North Branch of the Chicago River, the park was dedicated in 1923 in honor of the Kiwanis Club of Albany Park for its civic and charitable service to the community.

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