When Sterling Bay was found to have made a asphalt It took Older by surprise that the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund helped kickstart the developer’s planned $6 billion Lincoln Yards project. Gilbert Villegas as an opportunity.

Villegas, of the 36th District, will introduce a resolution at next week’s city council meeting calling for a hearing on whether to study the potential of more city pension funds investing in Chicago real estate developments, which he chairs Report.

Sterling Bay’s pitch to the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund prompted city councilors to take action, realizing the city could use more of its pension funds to invest in local real estate businesses. He plans to present the idea in his economic, capital and technological development committee.

“Why don’t we do that?” Villegas told the media. “Why aren’t some of our pension funds considering investing in projects in Chicago and creating economic development?”

He plans to ask City Clerk Ana Valencia, Treasurer Melissa Conyers-Irwin and the city’s top budget and finance officials to provide details on how the money is invested in local real estate and, where reasonable, to increase these investments.

These employees oversee at least one of the city’s four pension funds, including the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefits Fund, the Board of Labor and Retirement Employees’ Annuity and Benefits Fund, the Police Annuity and Benefits Fund, and the Firefighters’ Annuity and Benefits Fund.

The four pension funds are made up of at least two trustees who are either appointed by the mayor or automatically become trustees by virtue of their position. While the city cannot mandate how the funds are invested, Villegas hopes to prompt trustees to take a closer look at them and how they can benefit real estate.

“The city can’t tell the pension fund what to invest in, obviously, that’s a fiduciary duty,” Villegas told the outlet. “But we do want, at the very least, to encourage members of the pensions board … to think about investments in ourselves as a city when they hold meetings around investments, particularly around real estate.”

— Quinn Donoghue

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