This article describes the key elements of a computerized spreadsheet model that can be used by public officials and agency staff to assess in advance the likely economic and fiscal effects of economic development projects. While the model in its current state is based on Chicago, local data can be used to adapt it to other places. The project is innovative in its use of current economic theory, data, and tools to create a model useable on a routine basis by non-specialist public agency staff. The aim is to narrow the gap between academic economic analysis and public sector practice. A key element of the model is that it was developed in close cooperation with staff of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development and combines rigorous economic analysis with the political priorities and choices of public agency staff. Also, the model includes key data about the local economy and standard industry data, but can be overridden by an analyst if project-specific information is available.