Whole Foods’ Englewood deal may require fund shuffle

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Whole Foods, the store derided in some circles with the nickname “Whole Paycheck” for alleged high prices, is setting up shop in Englewood.

Having already planted its flag in more affluent parts of the city and the suburbs, the company is planning to build at the northwest corner of 63rd and Halsted, where it will be part of a 13-acre development across from Kennedy King Community College.

The developer of the site is DL3 Realty LP. City officials said Whole Foods is in line for $10 million in tax-increment financing.

Will enough Englewood residents find the money to support a Whole Foods, a chain that regardless of nicknames has played almost exclusively to high demographics?

But there’s another money issue: Where will the city find the TIF funds?

The redevelopment site is within the Englewood Mall TIF, which had $4.8 million on hand, according to a city audit published June 30. The TIF was generating about $350,000 in property tax revenue. It was set up to revitalize the old 63rd-and-Halsted shopping district.

But the TIF is due to expire at the end of this year, records show.

It appears that to find the $10 million, the city will either have to extend the TIF, or tap an adjoining TIF district. It’s the much larger and more cash-rich Englewood Neighborhood TIF, which covers most of the area between Garfield and 67th and the Dan Ryan Expy. to Racine. As of June 30, it had a fund balance of $24.16 million and was generating more than $4 million in annual property tax revenue.

Transferring funds between adjacent TIF districts, “porting” to those who follow this topic, or extending a TIF district can be done by the City Council. TIF critics, including the city’s inspector general, have criticized “porting” as lacking transparency.

A spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel had no immediate comment on the plans for getting the $10 million.

For more on the Whole Foods project, here’s a link to Wednesday’s Sun-Times story by City Hall Reporter Fran Spielman.

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