Chicago council approves $6B Lincoln Yards, $7B The 78
- With a 31-14 vote, the Chicago City Council has approved the tax increment financing (TIF) plan that allows Sterling Bay’s $6 billion mixed-use development to move forward, but not before requiring the developer to make additional concessions. Lincoln Yards stands to gain $900 million from its TIF subsidy, according to The Chicago Sun-Times.
- Sterling Bay originally committed to hiring 26% minority- and 6% woman-owned contractors to work on the project, but Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot, the Sun-Times reported, raised those numbers to 30% and 10%, respectively, the day before the vote. The same agreement applies to Related Midwest’s $7 billion The 78 mixed-use development, which also won approval and will see about $700 million in TIF subsidies.
- In an email to constituents, 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins, stressed that money from the Lincoln Yards TIF will be spent only on infrastructure or other costs related to the public benefit and that no funding will be diverted from current government sources. Hopkins also said the community would see a payoff from the project in terms of economic development and job creation in return for the TIF deal.
Sterling Bay made major changes to the Lincoln Yards concept after Hopkins rejected the original master plan on behalf of his constituents. As a Chicago alderman, Hopkins is entitled to quash any potential development in his ward. In fact, toward the end of last year, Alderman Brendan O’Reilly of the 42nd Ward killed Related Midwest's proposal for a dual tower high-rise on the Chicago waterfront. That project would have seen the addition of more than 800 for-rent and for-sale residential units, as well as 175 hotel rooms, but residents of the 42nd Ward wanted height and density reductions as well as a redesign of entrances and other public features.
For Lincoln Yards, the 2nd Ward’s residents made it clear that they did not want the traffic, congestion and general chaos that a planned Live Nation entertainment complex and soccer stadium would bring, so Sterling Bay agreed to nix those elements from the development’s design. It also increased the property’s proposed park space to 40% of the project, lowered both density and building height and added more infrastructure improvements.
The 78 has had an easier go of it than Lincoln Yards. The mixed-use project will include residential, retail, office and public space, as well as entertainment venues and public recreation facilities along the Chicago River.
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