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3 TIF districts support Pullman project

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.