Chicago officials deny TIF diversion allegations
Chicago officials connected with the development of a new hotel at McCormick Place and the renovations at Navy Pier recently denied accusations by the Better Government Association (BGA) and Crain’s Chicago Business that tax increment financing (TIF) funds for the hotel were improperly used for the pier.
In a release highlighted by The Daily Line via Twitter, David Reifman, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, and Lori Healey, CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), refuted the characterization by the BGA and Crain’s.
The controversy surrounds the financing of projects in the Elevate Chicago plan, which included both the development of the Marriott Marquis Chicago at McCormick Place and the Navy Pier renovations. The hotel development, based on its location, was eligible for TIF funding, which the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel awarded to the tune of $55 million. Shortly after receiving the TIF funds, the MPEA, which financed both developments, made transfers in the same amounts to pay for the Navy Pier project.
Reifman and Healey contend that the TIF payments received for the hotel project were reimbursements for money already spent and that the controversy is a misunderstanding of the overall Elevate Chicago cash flow scenario. They also point to the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars the initiative is expected to generate.
The BGA and Crain’s contend that the TIF funding should not have been used to enable work on Navy Pier, arguing that it appears that the MPEA did not need the TIF funding for the hotel project but the Elevate Chicago project as a whole.