CHICAGO— The city of Chicago received a major investment in its effort to boost business in economically struggling neighborhoods.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Governor JB Pritzker joined Fifth Third Bank Monday to announce its equity investment of approximately $20 million in Qualified Opportunity Zones in Chicago.
These funds align with the city’s INVEST South/West initiative, which is dedicated to arranging public and private resources for transformational growth in priority investment communities across Chicago.
“We thank Fifth Third and Decennial for partnering with the City to create inclusive growth and committing to bring measurable, lasting investment to areas of Chicago with the greatest need,” Lightfoot said. “This will further our common goal of ensuring that INVEST South/West community corridors receive strategic investments, enhancing the quality of life and economic growth to benefit all our neighbors.”
Chicago has 135 qualified Opportunity Zones located primarily on the city’s South and West sides, many of which overlap with the city’s INVEST communities.
The Opportunity Zones are designed to spur long-term private sector investment into economic development and job creation in historically underserved communities.
Fifth Third is partnering with Chicago-based Decennial Group, which will invest in Qualified Opportunity Zone projects in the city and region to increase economic development in the areas.
Fifth Third’s funding will be prioritized for key investment categories like affordable housing, workforce housing and other community priorities for multifamily development as well as projects that contribute to local job and business growth.
“Supporting equitable economic growth is one of the central goals of our historic $45 billion capital plan,” Pritzker said. “By investing $12 million in Rebuild Illinois funds in Opportunity Zone projects, we can take advantage of this federal tax incentive to stretch our capital dollars further while creating jobs and opportunity in communities that have suffered from a lack of investment for decades.”
As part of $100 million being allocated across the country, Fifth Third also announced it would partner with Fallbrook Multifamily, Raymond James, and the National Equity Fund of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).
“We are very excited about today’s announcement and what it means for Chicago and Illinois,” said Meghan Harte, executive director of Chicago LISC. “LISC looks forward to helping Fifth Third break new ground on Opportunity Zones throughout the city with the assistance of strong partners at the City and Decennial Group. We applaud Fifth Third’s novel approach that taps the experience of many partners to achieve impact for Chicago’s communities with every investment.”
Overall, INVEST South/West leverages $750 million in already allocated public funding to support efforts by the City working in collaboration with the community, corporate and philanthropic partners in revitalizing the core of 10 underinvested communities over the next three years.