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Economic Development Incentives

As the City of Chicago’s lead economic development agency, the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) administers numerous business assistance and financial incentive programs on behalf of local companies.

The programs and incentives are offered to commercial, retail, industrial, and non-profit organizations that are retaining and adding jobs for community residents. Assistance includes grants, tax reductions, loans, land-write downs, fee waivers and other forms of business aid. Program participation is subject to an application process to determine eligibility. Businesses are encouraged to review terms and conditions with program representatives prior to filing an application.

Class 6(b) Property Tax Incentive
The Class 6(b) program offers a 12-year reduction in real estate assessments from the standard Cook County industrial rate of 25 percent. Qualifying properties are assessed at 10 percent for the first 10 years, 15 percent for the 11th year and 20 percent for the 12th year. 

Properties must be used for industrial purposes and involve: 

Contact: 312.744.7223

Qualifying applicants may also apply to renew their tax reduction for an additional 12 years.

Class 7(a) and 7(b) Tax Incentive
The Class 7(a) and 7(b) programs offer real estate tax incentives for commercial projects in specific areas. Qualifying properties can receive a 12-year reduction in real estate assessments from the standard Cook County commercial rate of 25 percent. Qualifying properties are assessed at 10 percent for the first 10 years, 15 percent for the 11th year and 20 percent for the 12th year. 

The area must be a Redevelopment Area, Empowerment or Federal Enterprise Zone. 

Contact: 312.744.9413    

Maps of eligible areas are available on the DPD web site at www.cityofchicago.org/dpd.

Class 8 Property Tax Incentive
The Class 8 program offers reduced Cook County property tax rates on commercial and industrial projects in areas experiencing severe economic depression. Qualifying properties can receive a 12-year reduction in real estate assessments from the standard Cook County rate of 25 percent. Reduced rates are the same as the 6(b). 

Contact: 312.744.7223

Class C Property Tax Incentive
The Class C program offers reduced Cook County property tax rates on commercial and industrial properties that have substantial environmental contamination. Rates are the same as the 6(b). Remediation costs must exceed $100,000 or 25 percent of the property market value in the prior year.

Contact: 312.744.9413    

Class L Property Tax Incentive

The Class L program encourages rehabilitation of commercial, industrial, and multifamily properties that have been designated as official City landmarks or contributing buildings in designated landmark districts. Qualifying properties are assessed at 10 percent for the first 10 years, 15 percent for the 11th year and 20 percent for the 12th year. 
Work must  meet or exceed the U.S. Department of the Interior’s standards and be used for either: 

Contact: 312.744.3238

Enterprise Zone Program
Businesses located within Chicago’s six enterprise zones are eligible for State of Illinois tax incentives, exemptions, and other benefits that stimulate economic activity. Existing Enterprise Zone businesses and businesses relocating to an Enterprise Zone can lower operating expenses and increase profits by taking advantage of the many tax incentives offered through the program.  Incentives include:

Contact: 312.744.8569. Additional information is available here.

Industrial Development Revenue Bonds
The City of Chicago issues tax-exempt Industrial Development Revenue Bonds (IDBs) and lends their proceeds to manufacturing companies to finance qualified development projects. IDB proceeds may also be used for either new construction or renovation. Tax-exempt bond financing offers long-term financing at rates lower than conventional financing.

Bond proceeds are limited to:     

Contact: 312.744.0765

Landmark Designation
Historic and architecturally significant buildings designated as official landmarks by the Chicago City Council are eligible for a variety of incentives that reduce operating costs. The incentives include  permit fee waivers and eligibility for property tax reductions and federal rehabilitation tax credits.

Contact: (312) 744-3201

Local Industrial Retention Initiative (LIRI)
The LIRI program provides funding to not-for-profit organizations that provide economic development services to companies located in and around designated industrial corridors. LIRIs work toward job retention/creation, find solutions for individual business needs, make linkages between businesses and their communities, and coordinate City services. 

Contact: 312.744.1867

Negotiated Sales Program
The Negotiated Sales program arranges the sale of City-owned properties for redevelopment. Properties in the department’s inventory consist of vacant residential, commercial, and industrial land and also improved properties. Cost write-downs may be available for projects that provide tangible public benefits, such as affordable housing units, new or retained jobs, or other features. Property values are established by a market appraisal  prepared by an independent appraiser hired by DPD. 

Purchasers must demonstrate: 

Contact: 312.744.LAND (5263) 

Neighborhood Business Development Centers
Neighborhood Business Development Centers, or chambers of commerce, assist with a wide range of neighborhood business services such as getting new small businesses started, troubleshooting City-related issues, connecting businesses to financial resources, marketing assistance, and networking opportunities. Businesses can also get support from specialty chambers that are ethnic or industry-based.

Contact: 312.74-GOBIZ (744-6249)

New Markets Tax Credits
The New Markets Tax Credits program is a federal initiative that generates employment and other economic development benefits in  low-income communities. The program works through the Chicago Development Fund to provide income tax credits to financial institutions in exchange for investment in businesses or real estate projects in qualifying areas. 

Projects are located in areas experiencing economic distress and typically include:

Contact:  312.744.0892

Requests for Proposals (RFP) 

DPD issues RFPs to solicit redevelopment proposals for specific City-owned sites, such as vacant fire and police stations, vacant lots, and other types of properties in the City’s inventory. RFPs are issued for key redevelopment sites throughout the year.

Proposals are reviewed by an evaluation committee that consider: 

Contact: Specified within each RFP Current RFPs are posted on the DPD web site at www.cityofchicago.org/dpd.

Riverfront Improvement Fund
The Riverfront Improvement Program facilitates the rehabilitation or replacement of deteriorated riverwall structures by providing assistance to riverfront property owners. Assistance is provided at project completion.  Amounts vary  based on the type of land use and type of riverfront structure.  
Contact: 312.744.5756

Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF)
The SBIF program uses TIF revenues to help owners of commercial and industrial properties repair or remodel their facilities for their own businesses or on behalf of tenants. Program participants receive matching grants to cover half the cost of remodeling work, with a maximum grant amount up to $150,000 for industrial properties and $100,000 for commercial properties. Grants do not have to be repaid. Grants are provided to business and property owners in eligible TIF districts after remodeling work is completed. 

Eligible costs include but are not limited to:    

Contact: 312.360.3300

Small Business Loan Program
Small business loans up to $250,000 are available through a partnership between the City of Chicago Treasurer’s Office and community-based lenders. The program targets a variety of small and high-growth companies that can utilize loan proceeds for equipment purchases, working capital, inventory, leasehold improvements, expansion, contract purchase-order financing, and other uses. 

Program participants may include :    

Contact: 312.744.3356

Special Service Area (SSA) 
The SSA program is a mechanism for funding business-oriented support services and programs within contiguous industrial, commercial and residential areas. The services and programs are financed through localized property tax levies and managed by a local service provider, including not-for-profit development corporation, chambers of commerce, and business and industry groups.

Services are provided to businesses within a specific geographic area and include:

Contact: 312.744.8280
Additional information is available here

Streamlined TIF
Streamlined-TIF provides expedited access to valuable grants for the improvement of industrial, commercial, retail or residential mixed-use properties in TIF districts citywide. The program incorporates an easy-to-use application form and efficient approval process to pay up to 25 percent of renovation, expansion, or redevelopment costs. 

Assistance ranges from $25,000 to $1 million and can be applied toward: 

Contact:  312.744.0765

Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
TIF provides financial assistance to businesses that are investing in designated parts of the city that are blighted or in danger of becoming blighted. Funds for private development projects are allocated to build and repair roads and infrastructure, clean polluted land, and put vacant properties back to productive use. Funds are generated by growth in the Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) of properties within designated districts over a period of 23 years. Businesses utilize the new revenues, typically generated by their own properties, for specific purposes that are identified in redevelopment agreements that are subject to approval by the Community Development Commission and Chicago City Council. The assistance is typically provided in annual installments following a project’s completion.

Development costs that may be eligible for TIF assistance include:

Contact: 312.744.0765

TIFWorks funds workforce-training initiatives for companies located in designated TIF districts. With TIFWorks support, businesses can become better equipped to improve performance and productivity, expand product lines and gain new customers. Training types may include classroom training, on-the-job training, seminars, workshops, pre-packaged training courses, and related workforce development instruction.

TIFWorks program participants may include:    

Contact:  312.744.4171