City of Chicago Looks to Encourage TIF Projects in the City’s Neighborhoods

The City of Chicago is open for business and looking for TIF projects, especially in the City’s neighborhoods, according to representatives from the City of Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development.

The City does plan to slow down the creation of new TIF Districts in favor of focusing on Projects in existing TIF Districts.  Additionally, the Department is working on strengthening one of the goals of the TIF Program, delivery of projects in the City’s neighborhoods.  Development in many neighborhood TIF Districts has been slower than anticipated for various reasons, including a lack of access to private capital.  Projects in core areas will still be considered, however the City will employ a higher level of scrutiny in its determination of whether to provide TIF assistance to those projects.

The City’s TIF Program has been the target of much debate throughout its existence.  Critics often argue that TIF lacks transparency and is essentially an inside game.  Based on recommendations from the TIF Reform Panel and on internal discussions, the City is working to improve TIF transparency and to utilize certain benchmarks to guide the TIF approval process.  One of the primary measures for TIF project approval will be the number of jobs that would be created by the Project, although other criteria would be considered for retail and residential projects.  The Department of Housing and Economic Development hopes that these changes will help to satisfy critics of TIF and will also provide Developers with a better understanding of the TIF process.

Developers with potential projects are encouraged to bring them to the City as soon as possible in order to begin the TIF review process.

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