Joliet will hold a public hearing Tuesday for a taxing district that likely will be used to help pay off the city’s $105 million investment in the Rock Run Crossings project.
The city will issue up to $105 million in bonds, expecting to pay them off with tax revenues generated by Rock Run Crossings, a development designed for retail, restaurants, hotels, offices, residences, warehouses, entertainment venues and more at the crossing of Interstate 55 and 80.
A spokeswoman for developer Cullinan Properties described the future Rock Run Crossings as “a true work, live, play environment.”
The project is now 309 acres in size since developer Cullinan added 46 acres to the 263-acre site it acquired in 2015.
The public hearing at the City Council meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m., is for the extension of a Tax Increment Financing District that already exists for the original 263 acres of the site to the additional 46 acres.
TIF Districts allow property taxes generated by land development in the district to be used to pay for development costs.
The city plans to use TIF dollars and revenue from other taxes – including food and beverage taxes, hotel/motel taxes, and sales taxes – to pay off the bonds.
However, it the project falls short of expectations, the city and its taxpayers are responsible for the bonds. That possibility led to some opposition in a 5-2 vote when the City Council approved the bond plan last month.
The potential project costs for development are $162 million, according to an analysis done for the city by the firm Miller Hall & Triggs.
The potential taxable value of property at Rock Run Crossings after 23 years, which is how long the TIF District will be in place, is $97.5 million, according to the analysis.
The analysis finds that development costs for roadways, water and sewer, water retention and drainage “would be prohibitively expensive for private enterprise without public assistance,” a finding needed to establish the legality of the TIF District.
Cullinan Properties has been working on land development for the last two years but so far has only one announced tenant. The developer in 2019 said Regal Cinema will bring a movie theater to Rock Run.
The project, however, has hinged on interstate access to the site, which is in the northeast corner of the crossing of Interstates 55 and 80. Construction of a new interchange to provide access began this year.
“Cullinan is in various stages of discussion with a host of national and regional tenants, junior anchors, restaurants, office users, healthcare groups and small shop tenants,” Cullinan spokeswoman Nicole Sutherland said Friday in an email. “High-end entertainment and multiple developer/operators of hotel sites have also expressed interest. We continue to evaluate the site for added residential density in order to develop a true work, live, play environment.”