Illinois, Chicago to assist with Finkl plant

By Alejandra Cancino
Posted April 13 at 4:03 p.m.

Chicago-based steel manufacturer A. Finkl & Sons Co. will invest $150 million to build a manufacturing campus on the South Side, backed by $30.3 million in subsidies from the city of Chicago and Illinois.

Under the deal, the company plans to redevelop the former 44-acre Verson Steel plant, which has been vacant for years. After more than a century on the North Side, the relocation will allow the company to expand production and increase its product lines.

The company will move its North American headquarters to the plant, 1355 E. 93rd, and has pledged to retain 300 jobs. The project has been in the works for a few years. In 2009, A. Finkl & Sons bought six parcels owned by the city for $1. The parcels, which were adjacent to the abandoned plant, were valued at $934,000.

Chicago’s Community Development Commission approved the use of $20 million in tax increment financing funds, while the state is pledging $10.3 million in EDGE tax credits and ETIP job training funds.

EDGE, or Economic Development for a Growing Economy, is the state’s cornerstone corporate incentive program aimed at retaining and creating jobs.

An earlier Tribune examination of annual reporting during the program’s first nine years showed that the program has a mixed track record. Companies qualify for the tax credits 52 percent of the time. In some cases companies qualified for credits in some years but not others. Still, two-fifths of the projects the state has tracked through 2008 never qualified for credits.

In his first two years in office, Gov. Pat Quinn pledged a total of $330 million in EDGE tax credits to nearly 100 projects.

In 2008, the Tribune reported that Finkl ranked worst in Chicago for dangerous air pollution from factories.

The company actively promotes itself as environmentally friendly: A sign stretching over Cortland Street boasts that Finkl has planted 5 million trees, and for years the company hosted an annual Green Tie Ball to help fund highway beautification projects.

Yet, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gives it a high risk score for the toxic chromium, lead, manganese, nickel and zinc pollution it churns into densely populated neighborhoods surrounding the steel mill.

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  1. jack (me) April 13 at 4:11 pm

    The jobs are needed there.

    Also, fortunately, a piece of impeached and convicted garbage won’t be going to the south side to have another victory party.

  2. DTOM April 13 at 4:53 pm

    Finkl, please leave Illinois. This is a bankrupt, failed welfare State!

  3. Anielle Friday at 10:44 a.m.

    Finkl& Son’s Steel Mill, we don’t want you on the south side polluting our air!

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