Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Back to square one with the main post office

Posted By on 06.09.09 at 04:21 PM

As Whet Moser just reminded everyone, there was a time when I actually sort of endorsed a TIF deal. It was back in 2007, when I wrote about the city's proposal to spend $51 million in TIF money to develop the downtown post office. Specifically, I suggested that it might not be a bad investment of TIF dollars if it would lead to developing untaxed property and putting it on the tax rolls.

Immediately some of my most faithful readers called to tease me for going soft on Mayor Daley. Actually, I was pulling my version of a David Hoffman--bending over backward to say something (anything) nice about the TIF program. Or as my editors advise me, to be fair.

Hey, I tried.

I still think it would make sense to get the post office back on the tax rolls. But this particular TIF deal obviously didn't work--the Postal Service has just announced it will auction off the building. "Apparently, [the developer's] financing fell through," said Molly Sullivan, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Community Development. "That's what happened."

Or maybe the Reader's "endorsement" was the kiss of death. In any event, I doubt the mayor's weeping. This frees up another $51 million he can spend on his Olympics.

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