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Local News

Joliet votes Tuesday on more incentives downtown

Redevelopment of the Barber Building is one project that would benefit from a second TIF District in downtown Joliet.
Redevelopment of the Barber Building is one project that would benefit from a second TIF District in downtown Joliet.

JOLIET – The city likely could create a second tax increment financing district downtown depending on the outcome of a vote Tuesday.

The city council will vote whether to start the legal process needed to create another TIF district to supplement one that has existed downtown since 2000.

Joliet is increasingly using TIF incentives to try to spur economic development. The incentive uses the annual property taxes created by new construction to offset the costs of development.

Economic Development Director Steve Jones told the city council at a Monday meeting that a second TIF is needed to create sufficient incentives to foster major projects. The old TIF expires in 2023, and that does not leave enough time for investors to recoup costs through the tax incentive, Jones said.

“If you’re looking at a major project, six years really isn’t long enough to sustain a TIF,” he said.

The plan expands the boundaries of the downtown TIF north and south, including areas that Colorado-based Innovation Pavilion has been eyeing for a high-tech, entrepreneurial campus.

It also would include the Jacob Henry Mansion Estate property on Eastern Avenue.

The creation of a second TIF also would redraw boundaries, extending the life of TIF projects already underway once they fall within the new TIF, Jones said. One such project that would benefit is the redevelopment of the Barber Building for apartments.

The total acreage of downtown property eligible for TIF incentives would nearly double to 187.5 acres. The existing TIF District consists of 96 acres.

The number of properties eligible for TIF incentives would grow from 284 now to 449.

The city would shrink the existing City Center TIF to 12.5 acres and 59 properties. That TIF would expire in 2023, although the city could go through a process seeking a 12-year extension.

The second Downtown TIF would consist of 175 acres and 390 properties, and would start with a new 23-year lifespan.

The vote Tuesday will not create the TIF district, but it would start the required process – including a Feb. 20 public hearing preceding the formation of the TIF district.

Joliet earlier this year created a TIF District around Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center to encourage new development and property improvements in the commercial district surrounding the hospital.

The city also has begun to explore the creation of a TIF District to encourage redevelopment of the old Silver Cross Hospital campus. On Tuesday, the council will vote on the annexation of eight parcels adjacent to the campus and owned by Silver Cross. The property would be included in the future TIF.

If all proposals are approved, Joliet will have five TIF districts, including one already existing along Cass Street.

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