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Alderman Objections May Hold Up West Side Costco

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 8, 2011 3:00PM

Ald. Anthony Beale (Image via Ald. Beale's website.)
9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale is considering stalling the proposed Costco on the Near West Side because the 2007 land swap the Daley Administration agreed to with the Illinois Medical District will deprive the city of more than $1 million annually in rental income.

The Daley Administration and Medical District agreed to the land swap — 245,000 square feet total — to spare a 1.23 acre baseball field. Now, the vacant land the city gave to the Medical District is earmarked for the proposed Costco at 14th and Ashland. The city agreed to a 12-year, $2.5 million tax break with Costco to plant stakes in the area.

Beale, one of the more influential aldermen in City Council, apparently realized all this giving away land and tax breaks during a recession might not be good for the city:

“The city giving away land and someone [else] profiting is totally unacceptable at a time when we’re having huge budget deficits... Even though the medical district is a not-for-profit, they’re gonna be making $1 million [a-year] off of it. There needs to be some compensation to the citizens of Chicago for that. It doesn’t have anything to do with Costco. It’s just a matter of the city conveying land, then somebody else conveying it and making $1 million-a-year. That’s just unheard of.”

City Department of Community Development Molly Sullivan told the Sun-Times the issue is more complex than Beale makes it out to be and that the land dedicated to building the Costco is only a small part of the overall land.