Long-Time Chicago Steelmaker Buys 13.3 Acres for $1

A long-term steelmaker is not fleeing Chicago for Canada, thanks to a deal in which A. Finkl & Sons Co. purchased six properties adjacent to the Verson Steel site on the southeast side for just $1. Finkl, which has been in business since 1879, will move its headquarters from the western edge of Lincoln Park to 1355 East 93rd Street.  The move will keep 300 factory jobs in Chicago, good news in a city that has seen its industrial base shrink in recent years.

Finkl needs the six vacant properties for storage and to move an existing rail line to buffer the steel plant from nearby residential neighborhoods, according to a report from the Community Development Commission (CDC).  The six parcels for which Finkl paid just $1 encompass 13.3 acres and have been appraised at $934,500.  City officials and Finkl are in discussions over additional financial incentives, including the creation of a tax-increment financing district to sweeten the pot even more.

Founded in 1879 and now owned by German manufacturer Schmolz & Bickenbach A.G., Finkl has outgrown its current plant at 2011 North Southport Avenue.  The Verson property includes 44 acres and eight buildings with approximately 500,000 SF.  Finkl plans to build four new structures totaling 106,000 SF at the adjacent site.

The Chicago City Council still has to approve the sale, a move that is likely to face little opposition.  This is an excellent example of how tax incentives for businesses can save and create jobs.