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Target Took Taxpayer Money To Open North Side Store While Closing South Side Ones — That Won’t Happen Again, Rahm Vows

The city can't take back the TIF money it gave Target, but a new executive order will prohibit something like this from happening again.

In a few months this Target in the Chatham neighborhood may be closed for good.
Lee Edwards/Block Club Chicago
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 DOWNTOWN — Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wednesday signed an executive order aimed at Target, which is planning to open a new Mayfair store — in a development that will get a $13 million city subsidy — while shuttering stores in Chatham and Morgan Park.

The order — which can not be applied retroactively to force Target to change course, officials said — is designed to “better guard against a lack of good-faith commitment and actions by outside parties to the city’s detriment.”

RELATED: Despite Threat Of Boycott And Loss Of TIF Funding, Target Says It’s Still Closing South Side Stores

The order requires developers of large shopping centers getting assistance from any of the city’s tax-increment financing districts to sign an affidavit declaring that it has no plans to close any stores in other parts of the city.

“If you are going to call yourself a Chicagoland store, you should be in all parts of Chicago,” Emanuel said. “Not some. It is not right.”

If the developer violates that agreement, the city “shall have the right to declare the developer in default and terminate the TIF transaction,” according to the executive order.

The order is designed to force firms getting city subsidies to tell planning officials about plans to close other stores in different parts of Chicago, Emanuel said.

“Seeing this weakness, I signed an executive order that tightens up the city’s regulatory enforcement,” Emanuel said.

Emanuel’s action comes after Target’s decision to close two South Side stores as of Feb. 2, just as construction gets underway on a new store in Mayfair, which is part of a new $58 million development at Foster Avenue and the Edens Expressway. The City Council approved $13 million in TIF funding for that development in May, which will be built at the former site of Sunstar, a dental company which moved its operations to Schaumburg.

“To say the mayor is not happy with Target’s decision would be an understatement,” said Adam Collins, Emanuel’s spokesman. “And he’s also not shy. He’s been on the phone at least five times with the CEO of the company since early last week trying to save the two stores Target is planning to close on the South Side and trying to save those jobs. He has offered the company millions in TIF assistance to keep the stores open. He’ll keep at it, but it’s a long shot.”

A Target spokeswoman said the South Side stores are among five stores nationwide picked to close because they’re not profitable.

The Chatham store, which opened in 2002, is 126,000 square feet. The Morgan Park store, open since 2008, is 128,000 square feet.

The Chatham store employs about 120 full- and part-time workers. There are about 115 in Morgan Park, according to the Tribune.

Earlier this week, mayoral candidate Bill Daley, the one-time U.S. commerce secretary of brother of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, urged city officials to pull out of the Mayfair TIF agreement.

Eight city, county and state elected officials signed their names to a letter addressed to Brian Cornell, president of Target Corporation. In it, they voiced their “concern, dismay and disappointment” over Target’s decision to close the two South Side stores.