• Alex Nitkin
    OCT 18, 2021

    Morton Salt redevelopment, industrial projects set for city tax breaks

    The Morton Salt shed at 1357 N. Elston Ave. would be turned into a concert venue with space for up to 4,000 people under a plan set to be boosted by city-backed tax credits. [Department of Planning and Development]

    A ballyhooed proposal to convert the former Morton Salt shed in West Town into a 4,000-ticket concert venue and dining destination is set to clear another hurdle on Monday as aldermen consider awarding the developer a key tax break.

    An ordinance (O2021-4195) granting developers R2 Companies and Blue Star Properties Class L historic tax credits for the $30 million rehab project is one of multiple city-backed tax breaks on tap for consideration during a 2 p.m. meeting of the City Council Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development on Monday. The committee is also scheduled to renew the budgets of 17 separate Special Service Area taxing districts around the city. 

    The plan to remake the four-acre salt shed site at 1357 N. Elston Ave. in the 27th Ward while keeping the iconic exterior structure intact has steadily marched through a series of city approvals this year, including by achieving historic landmark status so that the “Morton Salt” logo and umbrella girl illustration remain to greet concertgoers.

    Related: Morton Salt concert venue, Bronzeville affordable apartments earn plan commission approval

    The “Salt District” development would convert the salt storage shed into a performance venue that could accommodate up to 4,000 people. The adjacent building would be converted into more than 61,000 square feet of office space, including 20,000 square feet for Morton Salt, with ground-floor food and beverage operations. The developers also plan to build a publicly accessible Riverwalk space along the side of the property facing the North Branch of the Chicago River.

    Builders have already begun work on the project — including by taking down the Morton Salt sign so they can replace it with an “updated logo,” Block Club reported last month.

    Class L property tax status would slice the owners’ property tax burden for a 12-year period. In order to qualify for the break, property owners must commit to investing at least half the existing value of the building into an approved rehabilitation project.

    When completed, the facility could net the city up to $4.5 million in annual sales and amusement taxes, officials estimated earlier this year.

    The economic development committee is also set to advance the following other tax breaks on Monday:

    O2021-4189 — Renewal of an existing class 7(b) property tax incentive for Roseland Medical Center at 106-136 W. 111th St. in the 34th Ward, where developer DL3 Realty has already built a 27,000-square-foot strip mall.

    O2021-4188 — A class 6(b) property tax incentive for IDI Logistics Operating Partnership to build a 178,850-square-foot distribution warehouse at 3700 S. Morgan St. in the 11th Ward. The overall project is set to cost about $21.1 million.

    O2021-4715 — A class 6(b) property tax incentive for Glen Missner and Barry Missner to build an approximately 169,900-square-foot industrial facility around the intersection of Normal Avenue and Pershing Road in the 11th Ward.

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