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Local News

Joliet eyes tax incentives for Rock Run Crossings and downtown

JOLIET – Joliet is pursuing tax incentives for both a future business district and the city’s oldest business district.

The consulting firm SB Friedman was hired last week to do feasibility studies on tax incentive proposals aimed at spurring the future Cullinan Properties lifestyle center at Interstates 55 and 80.

SB Friedman also will study the feasibility of restructuring a Tax Increment Financing District that has been downtown since 2000.

For the Cullinan project, the city is looking at the same kind of sales tax incentive that was considered when the property was in the hands of another developer before the recession.

Economic Development Director Steve Jones noted the high infrastructure costs involved in creating access to the Cullinan site, a 265-acre project called Rock Run Crossings.

Plans include a new interchange estimated at $90 million and a new access road estimated at $60 million.

“There’s going to be an awful lot of consideration that’s going to be have to be given to incentives,” Jones told the city council’s Economic Development Committee last week.

SB Friedman was hired at $25,000 to study the potential to create a TIF District that would pour back tax dollars into infrastructure at the site. The firm will also examine an added sales tax, which was considered previously, that would apply only to businesses at the site and be used to pay off bonds used for development.

Cullinan Properties plans to make a presentation on its plan to the city council in April, said Anaise Berry, director of marketing for the East Peoria-based development company.

Last week, Cullinan made a presentation to Joliet Junior College faculty and students, who have voiced concerns about the environmental impact of the project on land around the college.

Berry described the presentation as “a step in the process in making sure we are good neighbors.”

A TIF District would mean that Joliet Junior College and other local governments that collect property taxes off of the site would not see the full taxes from Rock Run Crossings for as long as 23 years. A TIF sets aside a portion of property taxes to be used for site improvements.

Downtown incentives

The city also is looking at creating a new TIF downtown as an incentive for future development.

The existing TIF is set to expire in 2023, and that’s not enough time to provide an incentive for projects yet to come downtown, Jones told the committee.

“We’re starting to get a little bit of attention from potential redevelopers,” Jones told the committee.

“We have projects that aren’t going to happen unless we have some other means of incentivizing them,” he said. “We need to look beyond 2023 if we want those projects to go.”

Nine downtown projects that used the existing TIF incentive would continue to get the benefits until 2023, he said. The new TIF District would be used as an incentive for future projects.

SB Friedman will be paid $69,000 for the downtown TIF study.

The firm was the consultant for the recently created TIF District in the Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center neighborhood.

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