CHICAGO-S&C Electric Co. will renovate its 20 buildings along Ridge Boulevard between Devon and Pratt avenues in Rogers Park, paying for the $36-million project over the next 23 years with a rebate on its property taxes. A redevelopment plan, opening the door for tax increment financing, was recommended Tuesday by the city’s community development commission.

“It’s very hard for them to expand beyond their current boundaries,” sys Dina Wayne of the department of planning and development’s finance division. “What it comes down to is helping S&C Electric to the kind of rehabilitation it needs to do to remain competitive.”

The maker of switching and electrical products wants to increase its production capacity but is hampered by a series of buildings that average 34 years old, Wayne says, which is considered near the end of their economic life. Without tax increment financing, the 93-year-old company, which has been at its Rogers Park location since 1949, S&C Electric would likely consider a relocation out of the city.

“If there’s ever any TIF that’s more justified, I don’t know about it,” says 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore. “This is about retaining jobs in the city.”

S&C employees average $50,000 a year in wages and a tenure of 12 years with the company, Moore notes. “They’re a model corporate citizen,” he adds.

S&C Electric Co. pays $1.2 million a year on its 46 acres, according to S & C Electric financial services director Michael W. Moses. Money for demolishing, renovating and rehabbing its nearly 1.1 million sf of industrial space will come from property taxes paid on the increased in equalized valuation in the TIF area. The Cook County assessor’s office places a current market value of $16 million on the property.

Wayne says S&C Electric plans a four-phase program over the next 23 years, with the first phase including an advanced technical center that will test products here rather than in Europe. The final phase will include a parking garage, she adds.

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