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mega tif project

How do mega-developments supported by Tax Increment Financing (TIF) impact Chicago?

In April 2019, Chicago City Council members approved public tax subsidies to redevelop two significant parcels of land:

Lincoln Yards, over 50 acres of riverfront property between Lincoln Park, Bucktown, and Wicker Park being redeveloped by Sterling Bay with the assistance of $900 million in public subsidies from a newly created Tax-Increment Financing district.


“The 78” on 62 acres of riverfront property between Pilsen, Chinatown, and the South Loop being redeveloped by Related Midwest with $551 million in tax revenue to offset development costs.

Critics of both deals decry a lack of public process and the transfer of public dollars to private corporations for what they suspect will already be lucrative investments. Advocates have also expressed concerns about the lack of public dollars for education investments, questions of equitable investments in green space, and concerns about displacement for local residents and locally-owned businesses. Officials in the outgoing Emanuel administration argued these deals benefit the city’s shared financial future, spurring long-term economic development for all of us.

As City Council voted to approve the TIF investments, CUE was asked to facilitate a Racial Equity Impact Assessment by a coalition of organizers, faith leaders, and business owners. The TIF Equity Coalition quickly amassed nearly 1,500 signatures in support of the REIA.


CUE Fellows who have been trained with us over the past two years have been working to set up the Racial Equity Impact Assessment process, where residents will come together to review data, historical narrative, and expert testimony as they develop recommendations for the future of these projects and broader implications for the future of the TIF system.

Lincoln Yards TIF

Session 1 (OCT 12): What are the facts?

Session 2 (NOV 2): Who benefits? Who is burdened?

The 78 TIF

Session 1 (NOV 9): What are the facts?

Session 2 (NOV 20): Who benefits? Who is burdened?

Final Joint Session

(DEC 7): How can we prevent harm and promote public benefits? 

Project Leader

Jim Merrell, 2019 Fellow from Active Transportation Alliance



March 26, 2019

The Daily Line: Coalition calls for study of impact of Lincoln Yards, The 78 subsidies on racial equity before vote


April 2019

Change.Org: Petition Created by TIF Equity Coalition calling for REIA


April 11, 2019

NPR: City Council approves Lincoln Yards, The 78.


May 23, 2019

Next City: This Lawsuit Is Putting a Racial Equity Lens on Economic Development Incentives


How can a traffic circle impact racial equity?

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