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BOMA/Chicago Participates in BID Steering Committee

By Amy Masters, BOMA/Chicago Director of Marketing and Communications

BOMA/Chicago is participating in a steering committee with the City of Chicago to develop a state legislative proposal to authorize Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).

Currently, Illinois is one of only 5 states that has not enabled BID legislation in some form. States that have enabled BIDs define them as having at least one of the following characteristics:

  • Non-prescriptive assessment methods;
  • Government by a majority of elected or self-determined members; and
  • Formed by approval of a majority of local stakeholders.

Our members may be more familiar with Special Service Areas (SSAs) – local tax districts that fund expanded services and programs through a localized property tax levy within contiguous areas. There are 53 active SSAs across the city.

There are many similarities between BIDs and SSAs, including the goals to improve and stabilize neighborhoods. Both also provide similar services. Each BID has a district plan and typical services within that plan can include:

  • Cleaning and maintenance
  • Beautification
  • Safety and security
  • Economic and business development
  • Marketing and special events
  • Placemaking and branding
  • Capital improvements
  • Planning and research

There are several notable differences between SSAs and BIDs—most notably, in the flexibility a BID can provide.

  • Territory – BIDs also allow for broader areas outside of commercial corridors
  • Formation – BIDs may require demonstrated stakeholder support or allow for an opt-out model
  • Assessment methods – BIDs allow for greater flexibility to determine assessment methods and are not impacted by TIF districts
  • Governance -- Instead of an SSA commission appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council, BIDs empower participating building owners and managers to elect or self-determine the Board of Directors.

To create BIDs in Chicago, State legislation must first be enacted to allow for their creation, followed by City legislation. Because of the financial impact potential BIDs may have on office buildings, BOMA/Chicago is very engaged in the steering committee and discussions.

BOMA/Chicago participants on the steering committee include:

  • T.J. Brookover, AmTrust Realty Corp.
  • Derrick Johnson, Zeller
  • Bob Quast, Lincoln Property Company
  • Steve Sise, Golub & Company
  • Chuck Wagener, The John Buck Company

For more information or to provide any thoughts, please contact Farzin Parang, BOMA/Chicago Executive Director, at