Block 37: Show Me the Money (Again)

City's albatross gets a $12 million payday from Daley

It's been practically vacant for about 20 years, as project after project fell through for the expanse of property in the heart of Chicago's loop.

Now, downtown's Block 37 project, already one of the most tax-subsidized developments in city history, is in line for more money.

Mayor Daley proposed Wednesday a $12 million subsidy for a new hotel on the block. The proposal, introduced to the City Council, calls for a 354-room Loews hotel.

The new money would partially compensate the block's lead developer, Joseph Freed & Associates LLC, for cost overruns in the construction of a CTA station beneath the property.

Peter Scales, spokesman for the city's planning department, said the money was needed to make the hotel viable. Without it, Freed would have to pass the cost overruns onto Loews Corp., probably causing the hotel operator to quit the deal, Scales said.

Terms of the city contract call for a hotel to be built at the southeast corner of Randolph and Dearborn. Loews would get two years to land financing and begin construction.

Copyright CHIST - SunTimes
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