Archive for March, 2012

Chicago’s High-Tech Companies May Receive TIF Assistance from Laboratory Facilities Fund

Monday, March 12th, 2012

On February 29th, 2012, the City of Chicago announced the first draft of a plan to stimulate economic growth and create jobs. The plan delineates 10 long-term strategies ranging from strengthening the City’s manufacturing capacity to investing in next generation infrastructure. One strategy specifically focuses on enhancing innovation and entrepreneurship in mature and emerging sectors because current R&D spending and technology commercialization in Chicago is lower than the national level.

To promote innovation, spur R&D activities and create high-tech job opportunities, Chicago already has an established Laboratory Facilities Fund (LFF) program that was created by former Mayor Daley. The program aims to use TIF money to help develop laboratory space for new high-tech companies within certain TIF districts throughout the City. With maximum assistance of approximately $1.4 million per project and assistance distributed in a lump-sum amount upon project completion, the LFF program is designed to help new companies that develop products and processes in nanotechnology, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and services, food technology, and environmental technology. Large and publicly traded companies are not eligible to apply for this assistance.

In order to be eligible for assistance under the LFF program, new high-tech companies need to meet the following major requirements:

  • Demonstrate evidence that they have advanced beyond incubator or early stage development and that they require larger and more advanced lab facilities;
  • Present a lease or proposed lease for at least 5 years;
  • Plan to occupy lab spaces ranging from 5,000 to 25,000 square feet in existing buildings within certain TIF districts; and
  • Create or retain permanent jobs in Chicago.

Eligible expenses include the construction and rehabilitation of basic lab space improvements, environmental remediation, professional fees, and up to 30% of construction loan interest.

The LFF program application form is available on the City of Chicago’s website at:


Friday, March 2nd, 2012

The Illinois Legislature is currently considering a bill that would give greater authority to TIF district joint review boards.

A joint review board is comprised of a representative from each community college district, school district, park district, library district, fire protection district, township and county that would have the authority to directly levy taxes on the property to be included in a proposed redevelopment project area as well as a municipal representative and a public member.

A joint review board offers recommendations to a municipality regarding the establishment or amendment of redevelopment plans and redevelopment project areas.  Current Illinois law provides that these recommendations are advisory only.  Any recommendation by the joint review board must be adopted by a majority of the board’s members, however a joint review board’s failure to act is considered to be an approval.

HB4694 would amend the TIF Act and give additional authority to a joint review board.  Most notably, the proposed legislation would delete the following language from the TIF Act: “A [joint review] board’s recommendation shall be an advisory, non-binding recommendation.”  Under HB4694, any recommendation would need to be adopted by a three-fifths majority, rather than a simple majority.  If three-fifths of the joint review board members reject a proposed amendment to a TIF plan, a municipality would be prohibited from proceeding with the amendment.  Additionally, it would be presumed that a joint review board’s failure to act on a timely basis means that the joint review board rejects the proposed redevelopment plan or project area because it fails to meet certain eligibility criteria.

HB4694 was assigned to the House Revenue and Finance Committee for review on February 7, 2012.  To read it in its entirety, visit