July 28, 2011

City Council Approves Ordinances Supporting Neighborhood Amenities, Historic Preservation, Affordable Housing and Business Expansion

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

The Chicago City Council today approved eight ordinances supporting neighborhood amenities, business development, affordable housing and historic preservation.

“Our goal is to develop and maintain a prosperous economy by working to create jobs, providing affordable housing and building stronger communities,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.  “We remain committed to economic development that is sustainable and to sound municipal management that reaches every corner of our City.”


IGA with PBC for Edgewater Branch Library

The first ordinance authorizes an intergovernmental agreement with the Public Building Commission to provide $1.13 million Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the construction of the Edgewater Branch Library at 1210 W. Elmdale Ave.  The TIF assistance for the $13.9 million project will be provided from the Hollywood/Sheridan TIF District. 


Negotiated Sale of Property at 11914 S. Peoria St.

Also approved was an ordinance authorizing the sale of a City-owned industrial property in West Pullman that will be rehabilitated as a food processing facility.

Located at 11914 S. Peoria St and vacant since 2004, the property includes 52,000 square feet of industrial space within a two-story masonry building. Reneau Commercial Properties, LLC will purchase the building and lease it to Margie’s Brands Inc., which will spend $1.5 million to improve the facility and manufacture fruit spreads, jams, syrups and salad dressings. The products, currently manufactured by contract out of state, are sold in most grocery store chains throughout the country. The project will initially create 20 full-time jobs.


Creation of Ewing Avenue SBIF Program

An ordinance was also approved that authorizes the creation of a Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) program in parts of the East Side and Hegewisch communities, providing $300,000 in TIF funding to help owners of commercial and industrial buildings make improvements to their properties.

Approved applicants located within the Ewing Avenue TIF District will receive reimbursement grants of up to $150,000 for exterior and interior improvements such as windows, floors, green and conventional roofs, heating and air conditioning systems and other energy-saving or green improvements. 

SBIF currently operates in 78 TIF areas. The Ewing Avenue TIF District is bounded by 93rd Court, 130th Street, Indianapolis Boulevard and Buffalo Avenue.


Near West TIF Budget Amendment

The next ordinance authorizes an amendment to increase the Near West TIF District budget to $66.3 million from $48.5 million. The amendment reflects new increment collections, allowing for future redevelopment and revitalization of the area, including a comprehensive project to build and renovate buildings at Rush University Medical Center, the eventual redevelopment of a vacant parcel at Halsted and Monroe streets, and payments on the remaining debt service for the new Mark T. Skinner West school at 111 S. Throop St.


Pullman Suites L.P.

The next ordinance authorizes a loan agreement, the conveyance of two City-owned parcels, and fee waivers for the construction of Pullman Suites Senior Apartments in the Roseland community.

To be developed by Pullman Suites L.P. at 17-29 E. 112th Place, the five-story building will provide 60 units of affordable rental housing for independent seniors.  It will include a green roof, Energy Star appliances, energy efficient lighting, permeable concrete paving and rain gardens to reduce storm water runoff. 

Units will be available to renters earning up to 50 percent of the area's median income.  The City will invest up to $7.4 million in loans, $800,000 in low-income housing tax credits that will generate $6.4 million in equity, and $127, 500 in donations tax credit equity.  The project is eligible for donations tax credits because of the donation of City-owned land valued at $300,000.


Zapata Apartments

The next ordinance designates the developer and authorizes a TIF redevelopment agreement and fee waivers for the construction of affordable apartments on four vacant sites in the Logan Square community.

The partnership known as Zapata Apartments LP will build four buildings containing a total of 61 units at 3230 and 3503 W. Armitage Ave., 1955 N. St Louis Ave. and 3734 W. Cortland St.  Each building will include 3,700 feet of commercial space and a mix of one- to three-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 600 to 1,300 square feet. They will be made available to households earning up to 60 percent of area median income. 

The City will invest $4.6 million in TIF financing from the Fullerton/Milwaukee TIF District to assist construction of the $25 million project.


Landmark Designation for Ebenezer Baptist Church

Also approved was an ordinance designating Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in the Grand Boulevard community as an official Chicago landmark.

Located at 4501 S. Vincennes Ave., the structure, originally Isaiah Temple synagogue, was completed in 1899 in the Classical Revival style. The building was purchased by the church in 1931 and played an important role in the social and cultural evolution of the African-American community over several generations. In that same year, the first modern gospel choir was formed there, initiating the new style of American gospel music. 

Many of gospel’s greatest musicians, composers and choral directors are associated with the church, including Thomas Andrew Dorsey, known as the “The Father of Gospel Music.” The church played a central role in establishing the careers of singers such as Mahalia Jackson, Sally Martin, Ruth Jones and Dinah Washington.

The building contains a 1,200-seat auditorium, admired for its fine acoustics, and a two-story classroom annex designed by architect Dankmar Adler, a leading figure in the Chicago School of Architecture and partner of Louis Sullivan. 


IGA with CPD for Minuteman Park

Another ordinance authorizes an intergovernmental agreement with the Chicago Park District to use $340,000 in TIF funds for playground upgrades in the Clearing community. 

The assistance will enable the replacement of a playground at Minuteman Park, 5940 S. Central Ave., that was in disrepair and did not meet ADA accessibility standards. The total anticipated cost is $553,000.  TIF funds will come from the Archer/Central TIF District and the Park District will provide the remainder of the financing.


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