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City taps 3 TIFs to help bring 90 jobs to new Pullman plant

Updated: September 29, 2013 6:49AM

It’s a new business Chicago wants so badly that city officials are willing to tap three tax-increment financing districts to get it.

Method Products Inc. plans to build a 150,000-square-foot manufacturing center in the South Side’s Pullman community. Method, a San Francisco-based maker of cleaning products marketed as environmentally friendly, has said it expects to have about 90 people working at the location. Almost all the jobs will be new to Chicago.

The company has reported its project will cost about $39 million. The city, in a staff recommendation endorsed by the Community Development Commission, wants to pick up $8.1 million of the cost.

The money would be used for the developer’s acquisition of the 25-acre site and for costs associated with adding utilities and a foundation. The vacant property used to be part of the old Ryerson Steel plant.

The property is within the Roseland/Michigan TIF, from which $1 million will be drawn in stages. The city also will reach into two adjacent TIFs: Stony Island/Burnside, for $1.5 million, and Lake Calumet, for $5.6 million.

TIF rules let the city fund projects from adjacent districts.

The deal benefits Method and a separate developer, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Inc., a nonprofit group affiliated with U.S. Bank, which used to control the site. David Doig, a former city planning official, is president of the group.

Doig said Method will buy the site for $750,000 after Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives completes pre-construction work. The amount is part of the TIF subsidy.

The project is “a very vast undertaking” that would not be feasible without TIF help, city officials said in a report to the commission. The City Council is expected to approve the agreement in September.

Method has said it will break ground late this year and be open early in 2015. The plant will be near Pullman’s new Wal-Mart, due to open Sept. 11.

FIELDING OFFERS: Macy’s Inc. has had for sale the old Marshall Field’s warehouse at 4000 W. Diversey for a couple of years. Several proposals to turn it into housing or retail have come forward, but all have ground to a halt on opposition from the site’s alderman, Ray Suarez (31st), who has insisted that the building remain available for industrial jobs.

A source said one such proposal has come forward, but the identity of the buyer remains a secret. The source said the plan calls for an industrial use on the building’s lower floors, with something to be determined above it.

The property, owned by Macy’s Inc., is a tough assignment for any developer. It has five- and six-story sections, with deep, dark floors that have been compared to the old Chicago Main Post Office. Multi-floor layouts don’t fit with most modern industrial schemes.

Suarez could not be reached for comment, and a Macy’s spokesman declined to discuss any sale that hasn’t closed.

Despite the challenges, investors are intrigued because 21 acres surround the building, including 4.6 vacant acres along the south side of Diversey.

PURPLE IRONY: Demolition crews Tuesday finally started work on the old Purple Hotel, 4500 W. Touhy in Lincolnwood, as reported in today’s Sun-Times. The hotel’s odd and sordid story has been told repeatedly, but there’s one more fun fact tied to its demolition.

The place is getting wrecked one month after it was formally listed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to Landmarks Illinois. Getting it on the list was a priority for the property’s former developer, Jake Weiss, who wanted to save the purple walls and qualify for tax breaks. Federal registry listing carries no protection against a teardown.

Weiss has since given way to Neal Stein, principal of North Capital Group, who decided there was no way to save the purple.

DOING THE DEALS: In an unusual venture for a large landlord, Shorenstein Properties LLC said it has partnered with local firms in a redevelopment of 210 N. Green. The 83,000-square-foot former home of Amity Packing in the Fulton Market district is slated to become a mix of retail and “creative” office space. San Francisco-based Shorenstein, which has holdings around the country, is partnering with Shapack Development, AJ Capital Partners and office designer WeWork.

Digital consulting firm Rightpoint leased 13,000 square feet at 29 N. Wacker, doubling its space from a previous home in the West Loop. . . . L.J. Sheridan & Co. represented FCBT Holdings in its $2 million sale of a five-building, 70,000-square-foot office at 2200 Hicks Road, Rolling Meadows. The buyer was Moats Office Properties.

David Roeder reports on real estate at 6:22 p.m. Thursdays on WBBM-AM (780) and WBBM-FM (105.9). The reports are repeated at 10:22 p.m. Thursday and 7:22 a.m. Sunday.

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