Saturday, October 4, 2014

City Begins Payment for Vacant Michael Reese Hospital Property It Acquired Back in 2009 for Olympic Village

The Chicago Reader weighs in on the city's Michael Reese property bill:
The Old Michael Rees Hospital (image via Sun-Times Media)
Yesterday was a banner day in the city's effort to waste more property tax dollars on dreadful tax increment financing deals. 
In this case, the city sent roughly $1.3 million—the first of many such payments, mind you—to one of the world's largest privately held medical supply companies in exchange for the Michael Reese Hospital property. 
A property that apparently nobody else wanted. 
My guess is that Mayor Emanuel didn't mention this in any of his daily press releases because there was just no way his media team, as nimble as it is, could possibly spin it into good news—though it would be fun to watch them try. 
Instead, I learned about the payment in an article by Micah Maidenberg, a real estate reporter for Crain's Chicago Business. 
But for Micah, you may have forgotten that in 2009, we, the taxpayers of this fair city, agreed to buy Michael Reese—and its surrounding 41-acre campus—from Medline Industries for up to $91 million.  
Actually, we didn't agree to that, as nobody asked us.
Instead, Mayor Richard M. Daley agreed to it, using TIF dollars that he'd diverted from schools, parks, and pensions.

As you may or may not know, this property was first acquired by the city to be the home of the Olympic Village.  Obviously we know what happened with that (we didn't get it...).  The site has been rumored to be a location for The Obama Presidential Museum, a Casino and most recently as an alternative for the George Lucas Museum.

Despite all this chatter, the site sits vacant and now we're paying for it.  Sigh...

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