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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 8, 2002

Governor Releases $11 Million in Illinois First Grants for Chicago

SPRINGFIELD – Governor George H. Ryan today released $11 million in Illinois FIRST funds to enhance economic development, tourism and education in Chicago, including $5 million to help plan for a new 30-story high-tech office building for ABN AMRO North America, Inc., the Dutch parent company of LaSalle Bank.

The $475 million ABN AMRO project is expected to create 3,700 construction jobs, as well as retain and create 2,500 jobs as the firm moves its North American headquarters to Chicago.

“This is a major, long-term economic development success that we were able to secure for our state because of Illinois FIRST,” Ryan said. “Mayor Daley and I worked together to bring ABM AMRO’s North American headquarters to the city. The company will be a tremendous economic benefit to Chicago and will further cement the city’s place as an international financial center.”

The 1.2 million square-foot development will be known as ABN AMRO Plaza and will be bounded by West Washington Street, North Clinton Street, West Madison Street and North Jefferson Street. It is estimated that real estate taxes alone for the block will increase annually from the current $260,000 to about $6.5 million.

The $5 million in Illinois FIRST funds will help the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning with the complex work needed to prepare for construction. The state has previously allocated $5.4 million to pay for site preparation.

Governor Ryan also released $4 million to the City Colleges of Chicago to purchase 16 parcels of land in Chicago that will become part of the new, expanded campus of Kennedy King College. The parcels are located on South Halsted Street, West 63rd Place and West 64th Street. The state previously spent $2 million to buy land for the expansion project.

“Over the last four years, Illinois FIRST has helped local colleges all over Illinois expand and improve their campuses so that students of all ages can improve their lives and get the education and training they need to be a success,” Governor Ryan said.

Finally, Governor Ryan released $2 million to help pay for the final phase of construction on the new Goodman Theatre on North Dearborn Street in the city’s “theater District.” More than 330,000 people attend Goodman productions every year. The grant will pay for minor building repairs and upgrades, construction of new rooms on the mezzanine of the Owen Theater for special events and conferences, as well as lighting and audio production equipment.

Illinois FIRST funds for the construction of this project are generated through the sale of state bonds. By law, proceeds from the sale of bonds cannot be used for general state operations.



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