Proposed tax incentives to redevelop the old Silver Cross Hospital moved forward this week.
The Joliet City Council Economic Development Committee this week recommended preliminary approval of a tax increment financing district for the former hospital campus. The matter is slated to go to the full City Council for a vote Tuesday.
The TIF district has been in the works since Silver Cross announced in August 2017 that it would demolish the vacant hospital complex to make room for development.
The latest action does not set up a TIF district, but would initiate the steps needed to eventually establish the district and make incentives available.
Economic Development Director Steve Jones told the committee Tuesday that a consultant’s study has shown that the campus meets required criteria for a TIF district, which allows property tax dollars on the site to be used to encourage development.
“The idea is to come up with some kind of incentive plan that would get that campus redeveloped,” Jones told the committee.
He said there have been discussions for a new medical facility on the campus, although Jones would not disclose details when asked after the meeting.
There has been redevelopment of the campus since the hospital closed, including the opening of a Veterans Affairs outpatient center, Aunt Martha’s East Joliet Community Health Center and Hope Manor, a housing complex for homeless and low-income veterans.
CN also expanded its rail yard operations by buying land that was part of the hospital.
But the city and Silver Cross, which still owns most of the campus, would like to see more development to provide jobs and services for the surrounding area.
“It’s not happening on its own. It’s not going to happen without this,” Jones told the committee. “Let’s be honest. Something like a fueling station would be a shot in the arm.”
Silver Cross officials had said there was little interest in using the old hospital building and they believed demolition would make the land more attractive to developers.
The TIF district is a 98-acre site that encompasses the former hospital campus and some land outside of it.