CHICAGO-Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies will bridge a funding gap for its $57.7-million “architecturally significant presence” on S. Michigan Avenue with $3 million in tax increment financing. The financial assistance, which the school had thought it would not need, was endorsed Tuesday by the community development commission.

The school will replace its 94-year-old building at 618 S. Michigan Ave. with a 138,000-sf, 10-story structure next door at 610 S. Michigan Ave. In addition to housing the college, the building with an undulating glass curtain wall protruding five feet over the sidewalk will include space for a museum, library, auditorium and administrative offices.

The current museum already attracts 200,000 visitors a year, and the institute projects the new building will result in a 50% increase in visits.

“It not only increases enrollment, but it’s a major increase in the use of the museum,” says Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies president and chief executive officer Dr. Howard A. Sulkin.

The project was in jeopardy without the $3-million TIF subsidy, says Chip Hastings of the department of planning and development. “We believe the level of assistance is appropriate,” he adds.

Plans for the building, designed by locally based Krueck & Sexton Architects, were endorsed earlier this year by the plan commission. The property’s current DX-16 zoning would allow for a 230,000-sf building, or 60% larger than the proposed building.

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