Aldermen heaped praise on Eli’s Cheesecake Company at a swift Economic, Capital, and Technology Development Committee meeting Monday afternoon, awarding the company with a Class 6(b) tax break for a roughly 38,000 sq ft addition to an existing 62,000 sq ft manufacturing and distribution facility in Ald. Nick Sposato’s 38th ward in the Read/Dunning TIF.

Attendance: Chairman Howard Brookins (21), Leslie Hairston (5), Gregory Mitchell (7), Patrick Daley Thompson (11), George Cardenas (12), Toni Foulkes (16), David Moore (17), Willie Cochran (20), Michael Scott Jr. (24), Walter Burnett Jr. (27), Jason Ervin (28), Milly Santiago (31), Gilbert Villegas (36), Emma Mitts (37), Nicholas Sposato (38), Michele Smith (43), Tom Tunney (44)

The 6(b) break offers a 12-year reduction in real estate assessments from 25 percent to 10 percent for the first 10 years, 15 percent for the 11th year and 20 percent for the 12th year. Eli’s received $1.3M in TIF dollars for acquisition costs in 1996, and currently provides 249 jobs. 75% of Eli’s employees are city residents. The addition will create an extra 75 new jobs over the lifetime of the break. The expansion will add $37,000 to Eli’s current property tax contribution of $149,000, according to Denise Roman with the Department of Planning and Development.

The $11 million proposed expansion will double the company’s baking and production capacity, and Eli’s will save about $600,000 over the break’s lifetime.

Marc Schulman, Eli’s CEO, said the expansion is “part of a long-term planning process to keep our production in Chicago, to create more jobs for our people. We love the Northwest side,” he told aldermen, detailing charitable work the company does. “We believe Chicago is a great place to do business.”

“This is the model for economic development. The amount of financing that’s involved with this pales to the fact of keeping 300 jobs in the city. We’ve looked at a number of different incentives per employee. Not only is he a good corporate citizen, but your work hiring from the neighborhood and hiring people with disabilities, challenges, is remarkable,” Ald. Tom Tunney (44) said.  

The committee also approved several new appointments and reappointments to the to the the Community Development Commission, an 11-member, mayor-appointed board that meets once a month in the City Council Chambers to recommend the creation of TIF districts or use of TIF funds for development plans:

  • Nicholas J. Delgado to replace Omar Duque. Duque resigned from the board before his term expired. Delgado is founder of Digitas, an investment bank and family office for “founder and family run enterprises,” according to its website. According to the Chicago Reader, Delgado was instrumental in getting a reluctant City Council to approve Wal-Mart’s move to Chicago.

  • Dwight Curtis to replace Board Chair Marina Carrot, who is leaving her post this summer. Curtis, the Vice Chairman of label-making company Labelmaster, will finish out Carrot’s term.

  • Mae C. Whiteside to succeed Lynda A. Olander, an executive with Precision Plating Company.

  • Jorge Perez, the Executive Director of the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association and the board’s current Vice Chair, will be re-appointed alongside Roxanne Ward, Chief of Staff for the Women’s Business Development Center. Perez will take over Carrot’s position as Chair.