I built a map of most Chicago TIF projects that you can filter on the fly. Type in any keyword, alderman’s name, or neighborhood and the map will re-center and zoom to the results.
1. Millions of dollars ($14.4 to be exact) has been or will be given to rich corporations, like Home Depot, to build massive stores with huge roofs and parking lots far away from where people live so everyone has to drive there. It’s highly unlikely they don’t mitigate stormwater runoff (except through temporary storage in a retention pond) or treat any of the water on site, contributing to local flooding and clogged pipes.
According to the project descriptions, property tax payers in these four TIF districts have partially subsidized the construction of over 1,903 car parking spaces and the associated ills of expansive asphalt areas and motorized traffic.
2. A massive subsidy was approved – $96 million – for McCaffery Interests’s Lakeside development on the former U.S. Steel South Works plant to build a mixed-use tower of 250 apartments in an area that has weak transit access and will take decades to fully fill out. We should instead be spending this kind of money building housing in already developed parts of the city (where there’s already amenities, or infrastructure for amenities – the Rezko land comes to mind).
What’s interesting about the Lakeside TIF project approval is that the containing TIF district, “Chicago Lakeside Development Phase 1”, has collected zero property tax revenue because there is no property in it!
There are some projects I like, though. TIF has been used frequently to build affordable housing, housing for seniors, and housing for people who need assistance. 78 out of 380 projects mention the word “affordable”.
The City Hyde Park building, designed by Studio Gang Architects, will have 20% of its residential units designated as “affordable”, for families (of varying sizes) earning up to 60 percent of the area median income. The city standard is 10 percent but developers are also able to pay an “in lieu” fee so they don’t have to build the affordable units and instead can offer those units at market rates.
Other projects have a majority of affordable units.