Thursday, August 16, 2012

Broad Shoulders Brewery Gets TIF Funds

Image from Chicagoist
We were very intrigued by the announcement of Broad Shoulders Brewery coming to Motor Row last year and have been following developments religiously.  Last we heard, the Chicago Journal reported that the brewery's opening was delayed until January 2013 due to permit issues with the city.

Yesterday, reported that the city development panel has approved a $628,000 TIF to help convert the vacant building into the brewery at 2337 S. Michigan:
A city development panel has voted to subsidize a microbrewery in Motor Row on the South Side, where city officials wants to create a entertainment district that will pull in McCormick Place conventioneers. The Community Development Commission on Tuesday approved $628,000 in tax-increment financing (TIF) to help cover the cost of turning a vacant building at 2337 S. Michigan Ave. into the Broad Shoulders Brewery.  
A venture led by investor and Chicago Mercantile Exchange member Robert Lassandrello has proposed the $2.5 million project at the southern end of Motor Row, which features an eclectic collection of historic but vacant buildings the city believes are primed to host uses like restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Opening the brewery, a stone's throw from McCormick Place, represents an incremental step in achieving the vision.

“This is part of what we hope will be the first of the anchor projects down here,” said Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd), who represents the area in the City Council. Members of the band Cheap Trick want to create a multi-use venue in the area, and Mr. Fioretti said boutique hotel operators, which he declined to name, are interested as well. 
TIF is a controversial acronym in this city and can be a lightning rod for discussion.

With that said, what do you think?  Should Broad Shoulders Brewery get a TIF?  They're definitely a pioneer down on that stretch and could help the city fulfill their dream to turn this into a entertainment district. 


TS said...

This is a perfect use of TIF funds as it is actually stimulated a blighted area. If this were enriching a large corporation in a well-developed area, I would have concerns. However, these are true entrepreneurs bringing economic development to an area that needs it. It's nice to see TIF actually used correctly every once in a while.

PS Bottle and Bottega opened last night, so you can update the business counter.

Brianbobcat said...

I agree with TS, sounds perfect. For one thing, TIF funds are gonna be used regardless, so might as well use them for a small business. Also, per the Chicago Journal article about their delayed opening, it sounds like it got pushed back because of some zoning/accessibility requirements imposed by the city, so this helps or covers entirely those changes. I expect that this money is going solely to renovating the building, not any of the build-out for the brewery itself. Not that I'm opposed to a microbrew, in fact I want to go there after the 2013 Auto Show, but I don't think that the City should be building a brewery itself pre-se.

Unknown said...

I love the idea of enhancing that section of S. Michigan and the plan will be successful.... "Build it and conventioneers will come to drink bad beer".

I have a problem though financing 25% of the cost for an individual that has a seat at the CME and is a heavy political contributor. This sh!t has to stop! I would bet Lassandrello could do this without the city’s assistance.
I’ll bet anyone $628,000. Oh, you can’t cover that bet, well ask the city to pull another frivolous TIF for your “endeavor”...