The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) sold $57.9 million in bonds to refund a previous issuance.
The bonds mature between 2027 and 2028, yielding between 4.18% and 4.22%. They pay interest at 5%. The securities received a rating of BBB from Fitch Ratings, A from S&P Global Ratings, and AA- from Kroll Bond Rating Agency.
The bonds are special limited obligations of the authority, payable by pledged state sales taxes, which reached an all-time high of $11.8 billion in fiscal year 2023.
“Given current inflation expectations, we believe that collections will likely lead to continued strong coverage,” S&P analyst Geoff Buswick said in a press release.
The issuance comes amid a slow postpandemic rebound in Illinois. While certain metrics of the state’s economy are at historic highs, including GDP and personal income levels, employment recovery has been weak. The state’s nonfarm payrolls were 0.3% ahead of prepandemic levels as of July 2023, compared to 2.8% nationwide.
The MPEA is a municipal corporation created by the Illinois General Assembly that owns McCormick Place and Navy Pier in Chicago. McCormick Place is one of the largest convention centers in the United States. The Navy Pier is a pier on Lake Michigan that is one of the state’s largest tourist attractions.
Citigroup Global Markets Inc served as lead underwriter on the issuance, purchasing the bonds for more than $59 million. The price reflected a premium of $1.7 million.