SPRINGFIELD --- An Illinois House panel today endorsed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan for McCormick Place expansion that includes a new DePaul basketball arena and a hotel as part of a massive bill that also featured incentives to build a Downstate fertilizer plant.
Also included in what was dubbed by supporters as the “Economic Development Act of 2013” were provisions to continue efforts to construct a new airport near Peotone and allow Rosemont to use $5 million in money it currently gets to encourage convention business to pay for bonds to redo its convention center.
The measure was endorsed by the House Revenue and Finance Committee on a 6-3 vote and moves to the House floor on the eve of the General Assembly’s scheduled adjournment. Watching the vote was a room full of lobbyists and elected officials including James Reilly, the CEO of the McPier authority, Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens and Will County Executive Larry Walsh.
Rep. David Harris, R-Arlington Heights, noted that the measure was crammed with a variety of disparate inititiaves, saying the bill was “more than a Christmas tree, but New Years’ and the Fourth of July all rolled into one.”
Under the measure, the McPier authority would receive authorization to use its bond fund, supported by hotel taxes and backstopped by state General Revenue Funds, to come up with $70 million for the arena project. Another $55 million would come from special city tax increment financing district funds and the lives of three TIFs would be extended for the arena and hotel project.
DePaul University also is contributing $70 million to the arena project. The McCormick Place Exposition Authority, known as McPier, which also runs Navy Pier, also would use some of the TIF funds tp acqiore land for a $400 million convention hotel with 1,200 rooms that it would own.
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