Governor signs Feigenholtz’s Business Improvement District legislation into law

Provides new tools for business corridor improvements

A new law sponsored by State Senator Sara Feigenholtz provides a flexible financing tool for the bustling retail and hospitality district along the Magnificent Mile and across Chicago.

“The Magnificent Mile, the gateway to high-end retail from Oak Street to Wacker Drive, is poised to overcome the challenges of the pandemic and evolving consumer habits,” said Feigenholtz (D-Chicago). “This new law provides a tool to fuel its recovery.”

Senate Bill 3679 permits property owners to petition the city to create a Business Improvement District – or BID – to collectively fund improvement projects through a self-imposed surcharge on commercial property owners. Since the law only applies to commercial properties, residential property owners are safeguarded from paying additional fees.

Moreover, the law empowers BID governing boards to tailor their BID design, ensuring a fair distribution of responsibilities and benefits. The projects that can be funded by BIDs are diverse, ranging from crime reduction and community beautification to job creation, all aimed at attracting new businesses and customers and filling vacant retail space.

BIDs are successfully implemented in nearly 1,000 towns throughout the United States, including most major U.S. cities. Unlike similar business development tools, BIDs provide more flexibility and oversight for property owners. BIDs are controlled by nonprofit entities formed by property owners, while tools like Tax Increment Financing districts and Special Service Areas are a function of the local government.

“I am excited to see BIDs added to our economic revitalization toolbox,” Feigenholtz added. “BIDs are a nimble tool that will give our bustling retail and hospitality industries the flexibility needed to thrive.”

Senate Bill 3679 was signed into law Monday and goes into effect immediately.