Plans to lease the city-owned lakefront Harley Clarke mansion to the non-profit Evanston Lake House and Group advanced at Monday night's City Council meeting.
The proposed 40-year lease was approved for introduction on a 6-1 vote.
But some aldermen and Mayor Steve Hagerty voiced reservations about the teams of the deal -- which only requires the group to raise an $2 million of an estimated $5 million in funds needed to fully restore the building.
Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, voted to introduce the measure, but said she feels "really uncomfortable about it." She said she was worried the city will ultimately end up have to ask the group to leave.
Hagerty said he was concerned that the original request for proposals issued by the city specified that the lessee would have to provide the full $5 million in rehab funds, but the Lake House proposal falls short of that.
Tom Hodgman of the Lake House group said the group hopes to be able to do all the renovation work in one initial phase -- but wanted to make sure that they would at lease be able to get to being code compliant immediately.
The group so far has raised about $100,000 in cash and pledges for the project. Hodgman says they're in the midst of seeking architects and fundraising experts to move forward with the project.
Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, said the lease represents the culmination of a very long process that probably would have discouranged anybody else and that she's confident the group ultimately will raise the $5 million to fully rehab the property.
A final vote on the lease is scheduled for the Council's April 9 meeting.