TIF Districts in Lakeview
Tax increment financing districts are a method of local economic development that was first used in California in the 1950s. It became increasingly popular in the 1970s and 1980s. Illinois enacted its first TIF district through state law in 1977.
TIF districts are meant to subsidize development in “blighted” areas of a municipality where developers otherwise would not invest in “but for” the existence of the TIF subsidy. These two qualifications, “blight” and “but for”, are both dependent on studies conducted by the municipality or retained consultants on the effect of a potential TIF district in a specific area. When the TIF district is enacted, the tax revenue of all the properties within the district is assessed and established as the base tax revenue. The additional property tax revenue generated through increased property values above the base tax revenue of the TIF district is used to finance developments within the TIF area. The controversy surrounding TIF districts lies within the question of whether or not the increased tax revenue due to increased property value is attributed to the existence of the TIF district or if that revenue would exist without the TIF district. For Chicago Public Schools, however, the state limits the tax levy that CPS is allowed to set. As a result, the presence of a TIF district in some cases does not take money away from CPS if they already receive their full tax levy.
For a more in depth description of TIF districts, check out the Sources section below.
There are two active tax-increment financing districts in Lakeview. The first TIF District, known as the Lincoln, Belmont, Ashland TIF District, was established in December of 1994. The area had been host to the Wieboldt department store, however, following the store’s closure in 1987, the commercial district experienced a number of vacancies. The goals of the 1996 Redevelopment Agreement included promotion of commercial, residential, and mixed-use development in the area. Today the area includes a Target, the Chicago Music Exchange, Dinkel’s Bakery among other commercial and residential developments. The Lincoln, Belmont, Ashland TIF District expires on 12/31/2018.
The second, more recent, active TIF District in Lakeview is the Red and Purple Phase One Modernization Project. This massive redevelopment project spans across the North Side of Chicago from North Ave to the south to Devon Ave in the north. The district includes properties within a half mile on either side of the Red and Purple Line L tracks. In accordance with the Illinois Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act (65 ILCS 5/11-74.4-1 et seq), the tax increment funds raised through this district can only be used for improvements within the scope of the transit redevelopment. These improvements include the, “... expansion or rehabilitation of new or existing transit passenger stations; transit maintenance, storage or service facilities; and rights-of-way for use in providing transit (together, known as ‘Transit Facilities’)”.
One of these improvements is the “fly over” currently under construction just north of the Belmont stop. A fly over would allow Brown line trains headed to and from the Southport L Stop to travel over the Red and Purple trains arriving at the Belmont stop. This would avoid the current delay necessary for Brown line trains to travel across the Purple and Red Line tracks. Additional aspects of the project include expanding ADA accessibility to L stations between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr, renovating the stations themselves, updating sometimes 100 year old L tracks and bridges, among other signal improvements. In addition to the TIF District funding, the federal government granted $1.1 billion to assist with this project. The Red and Purple Phase One Modernization Project TIF District was established on 11/30/2016 and dissolves on 12/31/2052.
TIF Districts Explained
Daniel Kay Hertz, Amanda Kass - Are TIFs taking money away from the city?
TIF Reform Task Force - Final Report
Chicago Magazine - Do TIFs Create More Jobs? New Study: ‘No’
UIC Great Cities Institute, Participatory Budgeting Project - Democratizing Tax Increment Financing Funds through Participatory Budgeting
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy - Tax Increment Financing, A Tool for Local Economic Development
TIF Developments in Lakeview
City of Chicago - Red and Purple Modernization Phase One Project Redevelopment Plan
City of Chicago - Lincoln/Belmont/Ashland TIF District
City of Chicago - Map of Chicago TIF Districts
Chicago Transit Authority - Red and Purple Modernization Video
Chicago Transit Authority - Red and Purple Bypass Project