The five special districts designated to promote economic growth in Evanston will get their annual checkup from the Joint Review Board Monday afternoon.

The board — composed of representatives from all the taxing bodies affected by creation of the Tax Increment Financing Districts — will review an 888-page report on their performance.

In terms of whether they’ve succeeded in increasing the taxable value of property in their districts, the scorecard shows the answer is yes — although the scale of the increase varies dramatically.

TIFBegunStarting EAVCurrent EAV% change% change/year
Howard Ridge2004$11.4M$26.9M135%8.0%
West Evanston2005$37.5M$60.0M60%3.7%
Dempster Dodge2012$10.8M$14.3M32%3.6%
Chicago Main2013$11.5M$25.8M124%15.5%
Five Fifths2021NANANANA

The two TIF districts along transit corridors that have seen major residential developments — Howard Ridge, with the 415 Premier Apartments, and Chicago Main, with the development known as The Main — have shown the best performance.

The two TIF districts heavy with commercial and industrial uses in west Evanston — West Evanston and Dempster Dodge — have faired less well.

The Five Fifths TIF, formed late last year, is too new to have meaningful data.

A map showing the location of Evanston’s tax increment financing districts.

The Howard Ridge TIF report shows $12.8 million in private investments in TIF-related development projects over its life — along with $3.7 million in public investments.

In addition to the 415 Premier Apartments, six other projects have benefitted from the TIF — including the Ward Eight Wine Bar, Peckish Pig, Theo Ubique Theatre and the Evanston Gateway apartment building now under construction.

Eight projects are listed for the West Evanston TIF — ranging from Church Street Townhouses and Greenwood Lofts to the Heartwood Center. They add up to $13.7 million in private investment and $172,805 in public funds.

The Dempster Dodge TIF is focused on the shopping center at that intersection, which has seen $8 million in private investment as well as the use of $2 million in public funds.

The sole project in the Chicago Main TIF has been the mixed-use development known as The Main. It is listed as involving $42.9 million in private investment supported by $2.9 million in public funds.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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    1. Hi Peter,

      No the values reported in the story were not adjusted for inflation. If they had been, the story would have said so.

      More useful, perhaps would be a comparison with how the equalized assessed valuation for the city as a whole has changed since the year each TIF was established.

      You can find the citywide EAV data in the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports on the city website.

      I did some calculations from that data and learned that:

      Since 2004, when the Howard Ridge TIF began, the city’s overall EAV has increased 65%.
      Since 2005, when the West Evanston TIF began, the city’s overall EAV has increased 54%.
      Since 2012, when the Dempster Dodge TIF began, the city’s overall EAV has increased 38%.
      Since 2013, when the Chicago Main TIF began, the city’s overall EAV has increased 57%.

      (Between 2009 and 2013 the city’s EAV declined by a third as a result of the housing market crash. It only topped the 2009 level in 2019.)

      So, each of the TIFs — except Dempster Dodge — has seen during its lifespan to date at least a marginally better increase in EAV than the city as a whole saw during the same time period.

      — Bill Smith

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