Chicago's city council gave the preliminary go-ahead to a plan to earmark $55 million in special tax district funds to help pay for a new hotel next to McCormick Place.
The City Council Finance Committee agreed to set aside the tax-increment financing revenue for the development of a 1,200-room Marriott hotel that is to be built along with a new arena that will host DePaul University basketball games and other events near the convention center.
Andrew Mooney, commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development, said the city hopes the development, including the Marriott, will help increase investment in the moribund "Motor Row" entertainment district close to McCormick Place in the South Loop. "This area, along Michigan Avenue between Cermak and 24th Place, has long been pictured as a new entertainment center for the near South Side, but it hasn't gotten very far yet," Mooney said. "We believe the new projects we're bringing into the area will jump start the program and attract investors in a way the row couldn't do on its own."
The city is using the TIF funds for the Marriott part of the project because it is still locked in litigation with the owner of a nearby parcel where a second, 500-room "boutique" hotel was to be built. Originally, $21.5 million of the tax funds were supposed to go toward buying the land for that other hotel.