Millennium Park Construction Moving Forward

Construction to Begin at Monroe Garden in Spring 2003; Privately-funded Music and Dance Theatre Expected to Open Later in the Year

Lisa Schrader, (312) 744-1835
Jack Beary, (312) 744-9277

The City of Chicago reported today that plans are under way to begin construction of the Monroe Garden within Millennium Park, which was the subject of an international design competition, at Columbus and Monroe in the spring of this year. The Music and Dance Theatre – which is being built solely with private funds – is also expected to open later in the year.

Construction continues on the Frank Gehry-designed Music Pavilion, with completion expected in 2004.

In December 2001, Mayor Richard M. Daley first opened the McCormick-Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park. And in October 2002, Mayor Daley dedicated and opened Wrigley Square at the corner of Michigan and Randolph, which includes a peristyle modeled after one that stood in Grant Park from 1917-1953, and a plaque commemorating those private-sector donors who have given $1 million or more to the Millennium Park project.

Private donors have provided more than $100 million for enhancements to Millennium Park, and those donors paid the cost of the $3.5 million peristyle as well as the $785,000 needed for garden upgrades near Wrigley Square.

Millennium Park will be Chicago’s newest world-class destination for families, tourists and convention-goers, and it will guarantee new jobs and revenues in Chicago for decades to come. Conservative estimates say it could generate $100 million to $150 million of new tourist revenues each year.

No neighborhood property tax dollars have been or will be used for the Millennium Park project or to pay for the debt service on Millennium Park bonds.

Millennium Park Garage revenues are used to pay semiannual debt service payments on the bonds that were issued to pay for construction of the park.

A little more than $3 million in Central Loop TIF funds, which can be used for downtown public works projects contiguous to the Central Loop, was also used to pay a portion of the debt service.

However, continued growth in garage revenues provided sufficient funds to meet the July 2002 debt service payment, which was reduced because of the benefits of a recent interest rate “swap” transaction. No Central Loop TIF funds were used for the July payment. The City expects garage revenues, combined with the ongoing benefits of the swap transaction, will again be sufficient to meet the January 2003 payment as well as future payments.

The City reported last week that Millennium Park garage revenue figures through November of 2002 show continued growth and record-high levels in the third quarter of 2002.

The third quarter produced the most revenues of any three-month period since the garage opened, with $1.22 million in July, August, and September. In the fourth quarter, October and November revenues were nearly $775,000, with December still outstanding.

In 2002, the garage has produced more than $4.08 million in net revenue. The 2001 net garage revenue was $1.69 million.

Since the garage opened in February 2001 with 250 spaces, the City has steadily opened more spaces and has undertaken publicity efforts to draw customers to the garage. The introductory parking rate has continued to be $10 a day.

The City opened the final spaces in the garage in 2002, bringing the total number of spaces to 2,181.

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