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Local News

Development incentives for old Silver Cross campus go to Joliet Council Feb. 5

Joliet is closer to establishing tax incentives to spur redevelopment of the old Silver Cross Hospital campus.

Silver Cross representatives supported the plan, and no one spoke against it Tuesday at a public hearing during the City Council meeting. The council will vote
Feb. 5 on a tax increment financing district for 98 acres at the former site of the hospital.

“We want to move this along quickly so we can hopefully see some development on that site to improve the East Side of Joliet,” Jeff Tryon, vice president of operation for Silver Cross, told the council.

Silver Cross, which still owns the property, demolished the hospital building last year. Silver Cross was unable to attract a buyer for the 550,000-square-foot building since relocating to a new hospital in New Lenox. Parts of the former hospital campus have been put back to use, but city incentives would be needed to attract private investment, Geoffrey Dickinson, senior vice president with SB Friedman Development Advisors, told the council.

SB Friedman conducted the study to determine the Silver Cross campus would qualify for tax increment financing incentives. TIF Districts use new property taxes generated as land is developed to offset the cost of infrastructure, property improvements and other costs associated with development.

Dickinson noted assessed value of the Silver Cross campus has gone down for four of the last five years.

“We believe no substantial development will occur without city investment,” Dickinson told the council.

Since Silver Cross left, four developments have occurred.

Veterans Affairs took over the old emergency center and converted it to an outpatient clinic for Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital. Aunt Martha’s built its East Joliet Community Health Center. And, Volunteers of America Illinois built its Home Manor Joliet apartments for homeless veterans. All three developments are government or nonprofit operations.

One private development occurred when CN expanded its rail yard to adjacent Silver Cross property to build an intermodal center.

In other business Tuesday, the city council:

• Voted 8-0 for a 1.5 million-square-foot warehouse plan that annexes 101 acres at Spencer and Cherry Hill roads to the city of Joliet for two warehouses to be developed by Exeter Property Group;

• Approved a three-year contract for the police supervisors union that starts Jan. 1, 2020, provides 2 percent annual raises, and settles a labor dispute by providing a bonus 5 percent raise next year in exchange for the elimination of four captain positions.

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