Vote delayed on Lincoln Yards, ‘The 78’ developments

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CHICAGO — The city’s Finance Committee has delayed a vote on two large-scale development projects that would receive a combined $1.6 billion in tax-increment-financing subsidies.

The vote was set for 10 a.m. Monday. Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot on Sunday asked aldermen to instead host a hearing on the matter.

Fifteen minutes before the scheduled vote, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he would delay the vote “out of respect.” The committee’s chairman, Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th), agreed.

At the center of the hearing are two massive projects: the $6 billion Lincoln Yards mixed-use development that would transform 55 acres along the Chicago River between Lincoln Park and Bucktown; and the $7 billion “The 78” project that would create similar mixed-use buildings between the South Loop and Chinatown.

The City Council vote could grant the projects a combined $1.6 billion in tax subsidies to reimburse developers for infrastructure like roads and bridges.

Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said he still wants a vote.

Lightfoot said she has concerns about affordable housing, traffic and whether businesses would be owned by women or minorities.

In a statement Sunday, she wrote in part: “From day one, I have raised concerns about these deals and the deeply flawed process that has led us to this moment. … For major development projects to drive equitable economic growth, they must be coupled with community input and a transparent, informed decision-making process.”

The Finance Committee is slated to meet again Wednesday before the full Chicago City Council meeting.

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