July 28, 2011

Mayor Emanuel Introduces Ordinances Supporting Economic Development and Affordable Housing

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today introduced eight ordinances supporting economic development and affordable housing for seniors and low-income renters.
“Our goal is to foster the development of neighborhoods where commercial and affordable housing, jobs and open spaces contribute to continued growth and vitality,” Emanuel said. “Facilitating investment in our communities is essential to the future economic health of our city.”

97th Street SSA, LLC

This ordinance authorizes the negotiated sale of 2.65 acres of vacant City-owned land for the construction of a $4.8 million Social Security Administration building in the Pullman community.

The developer, 97th Street SSA, LLC, is seeking to construct the 18,000-square-foot, single-story building at 9705 S. Cottage Grove Ave. The developer intends to seek LEED certification for its design and use of environmentally-friendly features.

The proposed sale price is $465,000. Proceeds from the sale would be used to offset the cost of environmental remediation at site. The Social Security Administration would move about 35 employees to the location as part of a 10-year lease. If approved, the project would create up to 80 temporary constructions jobs.

Class 6(b) Renewal for Total Sweeteners, Inc.

This ordinance authorizes the renewal of a Class 6(b) tax incentive for Total Sweeteners, Inc., a Brighton Park distributor of food ingredients. The tax incentive would allow Total Sweetners tokeep continue operating with 55 full-time employees at 2234 W. 43rd St. The original Class 6(b) incentive was issued in 2001 and supported a 60,000-square-foot expansion project.

The Cook County Class 6(b) classification is designed to encourage industrial development by offering a reduced property tax assessment rate for 12 years for the development or revitalization of manufacturing or industrial facilities. The estimated tax savings would be approximately $2.1 million over the period. Total Sweetners was established in 1979 and is a privately owned business, which operates as a subsidiary of Batory Foods, Inc.

Class 6(b) Tax Incentive for WMS Gaming, Inc.

Another proposed Class 6(b) incentive would support the construction of a 120,000-square-foot research and development facility in the Avondale community. WMS Gaming, Inc., a leading designer and manufacturer of video and reel-spinning machines, is expanding into a new four-story building at 2704 W. Roscoe St. to meet increasing customer demand for electronic game entertainment.

The new $35 million LEED- certified facility is being designed to include game development studios, research and development laboratories, game demonstration rooms, an auditorium, office space and employee amenities including a fitness center and recreational lounges. The property tax incentive would help the company to maintain 520 full-time jobs and to hire up to 25 additional full-time employees.

All Saints Residence

This ordinance would authorize a loan agreement, the sale of one City-owned parcel, and fee waivers for the construction of All Saints Residence, an $8.4 million housing complex for low-income seniors. Proposed for 11701 S. State St. by All Saints Housing, NFP, the 42-unit building would link to an existing, one-story annex and provide a connection to the 60-unit Roseland Manor Apartments senior building.

Each unit would have its own bathroom and kitchen facilities with monthly rent starting at $630. Tenants would pay 30 percent of their income towards rent and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would pay the balance. Assistance with medications, bathing and dressing, laundry, housekeeping, and transportation would be provided to tenants by on-site staff.

To enable the project, the City would invest up to $900,000 in loans and $162,800 in donations tax credit equity. The development is eligible for donations tax credits because of the donation of land from the City and Catholic Charities valued at $370,000. The land would be provided for $1.
The project would also participate in HUD's Section 202 Supportive Housing Development program, which helps finance the construction of affordable housing with supportive services for seniors.

Viceroy Apartments

Also introduced was an ordinance that would authorize $3.9 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) assistance for the redevelopment of the old Viceroy Hotel on the City’s Near West Side. The 81-year-old building, at 1517-21 W. Warren Blvd., is proposed to be converted into 89 low-income, studio apartments by Heartland Housing in conjunction with FirstBaptist Congregational Church.

The renovation calls for full kitchens and private baths in each apartment, ground floor office space, and a coffee shop. St. Leonard’s Ministries plans to lease approximately 18 units in the building to house formerly incarcerated women. The developer intends to seek silver LEED certification for environmentally-friendly features including a green roof, rain gardens, native landscaping and permeable pavers that help eliminate stormwater runoff.

Currently owned by the City and valued at $2.3 million, the property would be sold to the developer for $1. The project would generate 40 temporary construction jobs and five permanent jobs.

Judge Fisher Apartments

Another ordinance authorizes an intergovernmental agreement with the Chicago Housing Authority to provide $320,000 for site improvements to the Judge Fisher Apartments in Edgewater. Improvements to the building at 5821 N. Broadway Ave. would include a new accessible entrance ramp, a reconfigured ADA-accessible parking lot, and a new storm drainage system. A new community garden would also be constructed as part of the $2 million project.

Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center

Also introduced was a proposal to provide $4.8 million in TIF assistance to facilitate the relocation of a nursing school from the Village of Oak Park to the Humboldt Park community. To be operated by Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, the school would relocate to five floors of St. Elizabeth Hospital at 1431 N. Claremont Ave. A $13.5 million renovation of the 11-story building would create new classrooms, a student lounge, conference rooms, offices and an operating room simulator.

The project would accommodate a growing demand for nurses and other allied health professionals trained at advanced levels. The school has an enrollment of 275 students with 50 employees. The new location would double enrollment and add 27 jobs.
IGA with the CTA
Also introduced was an ordinance to sell a nearly one-acre City-owned property in Greater Grand Crossing to the Chicago Transit Authority for the expansion of a Green Line maintenance yard. The property, at 315 E. 63rd St., would be sold for $1.

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