When, in 2006, a developer announced plans to rehab Vitzhum & Burns Steuben Club Building at 188 W. Randolph, an $8 million dollars contribution from the massive Central Loop TIF was going to kick in about 10% of the $79 million cost.
Flash forward to today. The project cost has soared to $145 million, but the cash cow Central Loop TIF was finally allowed to expire in 2008. No TIF? No problem! According to a report by Alby Gallun in Crain's Chicago Business, the city created still another TIF, specifically to shove another $24 million of city money into the project, for a grand total of $32 million in TIF funds - representing over 22% of the current cost estimate, more than doubling the city's involvement.
But wait - there's more! The project is also getting $40 million dollars in tax-exempt bonds from the state, plus $37 million in tax credits. You, lucky taxpayer, kick in almost half of the project cost and the private developer gets the building. Socialism, Chicago style.
When Draconian cutbacks are effecting everything in Chicago from the CTA, to the schools, to 4th of July Fireworks, the city is diverting another $26 million in tax revenues to an economically unsustainable development. In any other city, this would be a front page scandal. In Chicago, the City of Sheep, it merits barely a shrug of the shoulders.