A combination of state and city economic development incentives has secured a commitment to retain more than 300 steel manufacturing jobs—and the possibility of hundreds more—in Chicago.
Chicago-based A. Finkl & Sons will construct a new $150-million manufacturing campus on Chicago’s South Side with the support of the State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the City of Chicago. In April, the City’s Community Development Commission approved $20 million of support through the Burnside Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district. Finkl, the world’s leading manufacturer of specialty steel alloys, will receive a $10 million benefit through the State’s Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) tax credit program.
After more than a century on Chicago’s North Side, Finkl has been working with state and city officials to relocate to a larger facility that would allow the company to expand production and increase its product lines to serve a growing global marketplace. The incentives will enable Finkl to remain in Illinois and redevelop the former Verson Steel plant—a 44-acre property located at 1355 E. 93rd St., that lay vacant for many years. Finkl investigated other locations for expansion, but wanted to stay in Chicago rather than move to Ohio or Quebec, Canada.
“A. Finkl & Sons’ commitment to both job growth and economic development is a welcome catalyst for revitalizing the Burnside, Calumet Heights and Pullman communities,” said Andrew J. Mooney, Commissioner of the Department of Housing and Economic Development. “We are especially pleased by Finkl’s plan, as not only does this bring manufacturing jobs to the South Side, but a company with roots here is staying here, keeping jobs and development in our city.”
"Illinois is a competitive place to do business, and Finkl’s decision to stay in the state is a huge positive for our economy and for job growth and investment,” said Warren Ribley, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. “The EDGE tax credit is designed to attract and retain companies and keep quality, head-of-household jobs in our state. By supporting the Finkl project, we are helping to ensure businesses can remain and thrive, improving our economic competitiveness.”
The EDGE program offers a special tax incentive to encourage companies to locate or expand operations in Illinois when there is active consideration of a competing location. The program can provide tax credits to qualifying companies, equal to the amount of state income taxes withheld from the salaries of employees in the newly created jobs.
Chicago’s Community Development Commission authorized the negotiation of a redevelopment agreement with A. Finkl & Sons for the shuttered Verson site that will become Finkl’s North American headquarters. Finkl projects that the new South Side plant will employ an initial workforce of 300 and potentially grow by 40 percent over the next five years. Finkl has agreed to make its best efforts to hire all City of Chicago residents and has committed to hiring residents from the local communities.
Having experienced the exodus of manufacturers from Chicago’s south side, business, city and community leaders alike praised Finkl’s plans to invest $150 million in a new facility as a boon to the area and to the city as a whole.
“We are thrilled that Finkl Steel will continue to grow its operations in a new state-of-the-art Chicago plant,” said Rita Athas, President of World Business Chicago. “Finkl plays an integral role in Chicago’s manufacturing community, and the new facility highlights how the City and State have come together to ensure that investment and jobs remain here. The advanced, highly skilled manufacturing happening at Finkl’s new plant is essential to the long-term growth of our economy.”
Regionally, the impact could be significant. In addition to potential new jobs, the new Finkl campus will serve to help anchor commercial redevelopment in Chicago’s Burnside, Calumet Heights and Pullman neighborhoods. Community leaders see the plant as a catalyst for new infrastructure that will stimulate commercial development adjacent to the plant.
The City’s Community Development Commission’s action requires approval by the City Council.