Sending City Hall into chaos, Emanuel backed Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot’s call on Monday to delay a key vote on $1.6 billion in city subsidies to fuel two massive developments that will transform Chicago’s landscape with 16,000 new apartments and condominiums.
Emanuel had led a full-court press by his office, his closest aides and his allies on the City Council to push Lincoln Yards and The 78 through City Council before he left office. The push continued despite vehement objections that the projects will exacerbate Chicago’s affordable housing shortfall and the economic or racial segregation plaguing the city.
If the projects were stopped, it would have a chilling effect on business and development in Chicago, according to the mayor and his team.
However, Lightfoot said in a late-night statement Tuesday that she expects the measures to be approved Wednesday, despite her concerns.
Lightfoot said her team met with Sterling Bay, the developer of Lincoln Yards, and Related Midwest, the developer of The 78, on Tuesday and “both developers agreed to meaningfully strengthen their commitments to minority-owned and women-owned business enterprises” from $80 million to $400 million overall.
Lightfoot said her team would closely monitor compliance with those agreements.
“These changes represent a vital sign that my administration will be able to make progress toward an equitable and fair deal for our communities,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot said she was “confident” provisions in place in the agreements “will allow for us to further improve these deals and to bring community voices into the process going forward” if they are approved Wednesday.
“Either way, upon swearing in, I will engage with the community and committed activists who have advocated forcefully for affordable housing, park space and the responsible use of tax increment financing dollars for many months,” Lightfoot said.
To set up a potential final vote by the full City Council, the Finance Committee will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday consider the plans to create a 168-acre Cortland and Chicago River Redevelopment Area (F2018-72) for Lincoln Yards and a 141-acre Roosevelt/Clark Tax Increment Financing Redevelopment Area (F2018-71) for The 78.
Ald. Brian Hopkins, whose 2nd Ward includes all 55 acres of Sterling Bay’s proposed Lincoln Yards development, has vowed to defy the mayor and push for a vote, insisting he has at least the 26 votes necessary to pass the measure.
Lincoln Yards is a $6 billion project that promises to transform 55 acres along the North Branch of the Chicago River with 6,000 units between Lincoln Park and Bucktown. Fourteen aldermen voted against the project last month — 12 short of killing the project.
The Cortland and Chicago River TIF will generate at least $900 million to cover the cost of infrastructure projects to pave the way for Lincoln Yards to be built, including new bridges over the Chicago River, a new Metra station, an extension of the 606 trail, water taxis, dedicated bicycle lanes as well as a potential light-rail transit way and extension of the city’s street grid.
Lincoln Yards is set to include 600 affordable housing units as part of the development.
The 78 would include 10,000 apartments and condominiums between the South Loop and Chinatown. It was approved unanimously by the City Council in November. Ald.-elect Byron Sigcho Lopez (25) urged aldermen to reject the subsidy.
If the Roosevelt/Clark TIF is approved, it would generate $700 million to build the infrastructure necessary for The 78 – a new CTA station, a realignment of Metra tracks, Clark Street improvements, a 15th Street extension and a new river wall.
Developer Related Midwest agreed to set aside 500 units as affordable as part of the development, and pay a $91.3 million fee to the city’s Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund in lieu of adding another 500 on-site units.
The meeting could also be the last for ousted Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (1); Ald. Toni Foulkes (16); Ald. Milly Santiago (31); Ald. Pat O’Connor (40) Ald. John Arena (45) and Ald. Joe Moore (49).
In addition, retiring Aldermen Ricardo Muñoz (22); Magaret Laurino (39) and Ameya Pawar (47) could bid their colleagues goodbye — while disgraced Ald. Danny Solis (25) is not likely to return to City Hall. Solis will be replaced by Ald.-elect Byron Sigcho-Lopez, who is one of at least five members of the Chicago chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America who will join the City Council May 20. Alds. Deb Mell (33) and James Cappleman (46) will not know until next April 16 whether they will return next term.
The lame-duck aldermen face an agenda packed with measures from Emanuel’s bucket list.
The City Council will consider whether to ink an exclusive nine-year contract to allow Lyft (O2019-1434, O2019-1611) to operate the city’s Divvy bicycle-sharing system — and reject a proposal from Uber to offer dockless bicycles and scooters. [Our coverage]
Aldermen are also expected to approve a watered down package of reforms proposed by Emanuel that would:
- force committee chairmen to give up their perk-filled perches if they recuse themselves from a vote before their committee more than three times per year and fail to resolve the conflict.
- ban committee chairmen from presiding over matters they plan to recuse themselves from.
- require aldermen who object to a permit to name “substantive reasons” to block it within 20 days.
- block campaign contributions of more than $1,500 from parties with matters before City Council for six months before the matter’s consideration in addition to the current limit, which applies for six months after the matter’s consideration.
- require aldermen to update their annual Statements of Financial Interest within 30 days of any changes “relating to outside employment, board service or business interests.”
The City Council will also consider a measure (O2018-7001) that could allow liquor to be sold within 100 feet of places of worship, schools and hospitals as well as homes for the aged, indigent and veterans with the support of Chicago’s liquor commissioner.
While supporters said the change would reduce red tape and fill empty storefronts, opponents said the new rules could complicate efforts by aldermen to block unwanted bars and liquor stores. [Our coverage]
Aldermen are also set to approve a number of items:
- R2018-1153; R2019-159 — Two 11th Ward property tax breaks for commercial projects. [Our coverage]
- O2019-2545 — A property tax break to fuel the renovation of Macy’s on State Street.
- O2018-2577 — A measure to allow mobile boutique operators to continue to operate until Jan. 31, 2020.
- O2019-1335; O2019-1457; O2019-1416; O2019-1447 — Measures to lift bans on packaged liquor sales in the 21st, 27th, 39th and 45th ward.
- O2019-1443 — A measure to ban liquor sales in the 35th Ward.
- O2019-1922 — A collective bargaining agreement with the Illinois Nurses Association.
- O2019-1403 — A measure to allow helicopter landings and takeoffs by exhibitors at 2019 International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference Oct. 26-29. [Our coverage]
- O2019-1398 — A redevelopment agreement to build a $169 million industrial and distribution center project on 196 acres of vacant land in the 10th Ward near 116th Street and Avenue O.
- O2019-1397 — A measure to use $3.5 million in tax-increment financing funds to help Sarah’s Circle to build 38 units of supportive housing.
- O2019-1400; O2019-1401; O2019-1402 — Three park projects in Old Town, Englewood and North Lawndale paid for by TIF funds. [Our coverage]
- O2019-1650; O2019-1404; O2019-1405 — Three measures to extend the Goose Island, 95th/Western and Byrn Mawr/Broadway tax-increment financing districts set to expire in 2019 for an additional 12 years to 2031.
- O2019-1423 — A measure to extend the 60th and Western TIF for one year.
- Three proposed settlements, including a $4.5 million payment to end a wrongful conviction lawsuit filed by a man who served 11 years in prison after he was convicted of raping a court clerk at the Daley Center.
- O2019-1429 — A measure to expand the list of ways aldermen can spend their annual $98,000 expense accounts.
- O2019-1456 — A measure to extend the city’s pilot of free-floating car sharing service Car2Go through Dec. 31.
- O2019-1477 — A measure to give the commissioner of Fleet and Facility Management authority over the Pedway system Downtown.
- O2019-1452 — The first update to the city’s building code in 70 years.
- O2018-7612 — A measure approving a 41-story, 456 unit tower near Wells and Division streets as part of the Atrium Village complex. [Our coverage]
- O2019-9262 — A measure approving an anaerobic digestion center at 650 W. 83rd St. in Auburn Gresham that will compost food waste, officials said.
- O2019-1442 — A measure approving a new Portillo’s to open in on the Northwest Side at 3357 W. Addison St. in Avondale.
- O2018-9254 — A measure approving a $24 million, three-story annex at Dirksen Elementary School in Norwood Park, which is among the most crowded schools in the city.
- A2019-25 — the appointment of Peggy A. Davis, chief officer of programs and strategic integration for The Chicago Community Trust, to the City Colleges of Chicago Board of Trustees.
- O2019-2578; O2019-2575; O2019-2576 — Three measures approving $5.16 million in grants to three businesses from the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund. [Our coverage]
- O2019-1427 — A measure to change the Public Safety Officers Home Buyer Assistance program to the Community Connections Home Buyer Assistance program and make members of Laborer’s Local 1001 and Laborer’s Local 1092 eligible for the grants.
- O2019-1656 — A measure to bump up the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund’s limit by $11 million, to $23.5 million.
- O2018-9042 — A proposal to change the city’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance designed to increase the number of family units on the West Side.
- O2019-1544 — An agreement to sell 830 N. Christiana Ave. to the Salvation Army to build supportive housing. In exchange, the city would receive Salvation Army property at 3345 W. Rice St. so the city can expand an existing park and build a new skate park in Humboldt Park near the Tribune’s printing plant
- O2019-1524; O2019-1519; O2019-1514 — Three measures to lease city-owned office space to Cook County to allow the county to offer telepsychiatry services.