Colorado Company to Operate Illinois Port Authority

A Colorado company has been chosen to lead a $500 million revitalization of the Illinois Port Authority District, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn said Sunday.

Under the plan, the Broe Group, a private, family owned company, will invest substantial funds in Port facilities over the next 10 years. The investment will also create up to 1,000 new jobs to ensure more efficient management and operations of the facilities, according to a city news release.

It will also add a partnership with the nearby Olive Harvey College, offering internship sponsorships, job placement opportunities and training programs for new hires, the release said.

The Illinois International Port District owns the Port of Chicago and is a self-funded entity, which relies primarily on revenues from tenants. It was created to promote business at the Port of Chicago.

The Port District has struggled in the face of significant challenges in recent years and has operated at a loss in each of the 10 years prior to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s appointment of Michael Forde to the board in 2011.

The Port’s debt was roughly five times its annual revenue, and it had not undertaken a significant investment in its facilities since 1981.

An independent study found the Port has potential for significant job growth, but determined its meager budget and difficult financial position made it difficult to invest to fulfill that potential.

So, the port accepted a proposal from Brow Group to lease on a long-term basis most of the port facilities from the Port District.
Brow Group and other parties expect to invest $500 million over the next 10 years, the release said.

“A revitalized Port means a revitalized economy and critical job creation on the southeast side of Chicago,” Alderman John Pope (Ward 10) said in a statement. “I am pleased the city, state and Port Authority board have come together and found an innovative way forward with this important partnership that will create an economic and transportation anchor for the region.”

The Broe Group plan establishes a 62-year lease to match the remaining 62 years on existing leases that are already in place at the Port.

The Broe Group is an international investment and management company with substantial assets in transportation, real estate and energy, the release said.

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