City to Dissolve Failed South Side Taxing District
GRAND BOULEVARD — The city will dissolve a taxing district after it failed to generate any revenue to support the redevelopment of public housing units.
Since the 40th and State streets tax increment financing district was established in 2004 to fund the redevelopment of the Robert Taylor Homes, it never collected any money, according to annual reports from the city.
“That thing didn’t generate any projects — it did not meet its goals whatsoever — so that’s why it’s being dissolved,” said Pete Strazzabosco, spokesman for the city’s Department of Housing and Economic Development.
The district was established to fund the Hansberry Square phase of the Legends South redevelopment of public housing into mixed-income communities. Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced an ordinance on Dec. 12 to dissolve the special taxing district.
The district locked the rate of property taxes going to the city and schools when it was created, with the expectation that any growth in the tax base would be used to fund development. Property values did not increase for eight years straight in the district bounded by 40th, State and Root streets and the Metra rail lines, according to city reports.
“The city is required to repeal them, according to state statute, after seven years if they don’t do anything,” Strazzabosco said.
More than 150 of the units in the district are subsidized apartments, according to property managers for Legends South. Three plots for single-family homes remain empty lots.
“For the most part, it’s been a successful community,” said Lori Crenshaw, senior property manager for Legends South. She said that demand for the rental units remained high despite limited access to retail such as groceries, dry cleaners and other services.
Two of the 181 units are vacant, according to Crenshaw, but applications are pending.
“The majority of the project is complete and the developer will not be seeking any assistance for the rest of the project, which is primarily single-family homes,” said Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd). “Since there’s no need for the TIF, we will be repealing the TIF.”
When TIF districts are dissolved the collected money is redistributed to municipal taxing bodies. The 40th and State district did not collect any money over its lifetime, according to eight years of annual reports. Strazzabosco confirmed there is no money to return to the city, schools or park district.