Evanston’s Economic Development Committee is scheduled tonight to review a proposal that would bring 200 private-sector jobs to a downtown office building in return for a $210,000 parking subsidy.

Accuity, Inc., a banking industry data provider now based in Skokie, says it is considering relocating to the 1007 Church St. building, which is now reportedly nearly half vacant.

Accuity officials say they now have 135 parking spaces included in the lease for their office building at 4709 Golf Road in Skokie, but that the owners of the 1007 Church St. building in Evanston can provide only 65 spaces.

To make up the parking space deficit, they’re asking the city to provide 70 roof-top spaces at the city-owned Maple Avenue parking garage for the next five years, which at regular rates are worth $42,000 a year.

The 1,400 space garage has been only half full in recent years, although the city recently reached agreement with the developer of a new apartment tower at 1571 Maple Ave. on a long-term lease for 101 spaces.

Accuity is also reportedly considering expanding in Skokie or relocating to the offices of an affiliated company in Georgia.

In a memo to the committee, city staff says the company plans to decide which option to take next month.

If the company moves to Evanston, its lease of 36,000 square feet of space at 1007 Church would almost make up for the nearly 43,000 square feet in the building that went vacant when Thomson Reuters, the building’s largest tenant, unexpectedly terminated its lease in 2011.

That led to a long period of receivership for the building, whose current owners acquired it at a judicial sale last June.

City staff say they plan to make an internal transfer of money from the city’s Economic Development Business Attraction Fund to its Parking Fund to cover the cost of the parking subsidy.

The company says its average employee salary is now $70,000 a year with anticipated new hires expected to average $100,000 a year. The city estimates that the 200 workers would generate about $1 million in incremental annual sales for Evanston businesses, as well at $20,000 in annual sales tax revenue for the city.

Editor’s note: The story has been updated to reflect revised information from the city about the company’s average salaries.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Current deal details says NO DEAL

    Sounds like the city would be in the red at about 25k per year. The only saving grace in making this deal is if over half of the jobs were held by Evanston residents.

    It would a break-even deal if the requested subsidy was cut in half.

    1. Friendly towards business

      Skip, can you explain how the city would be losing money on vacant parking spots that aren't generating revenue now ?  

      Apparrrently there are 1,400 spaces, of which 700 are currently being used. Add 101 for the coming development on Maple and add the extra 70 for this new business.  Seems to me  when you add it all up, we are left with 529 parking spots that still aren't generating revenue. 

      That being said, one can assume this company would be paying taxes, plus the employees would buy goods and services in Evanston which would be taxed. Sounds like more black than red to me.

      I guess the company should just set up shop in another city that is friendly towards business.  If we don't, some other city will see the value in it.


      1. If the city does this, they

        If the city does this, they should include a provision to review the garage's usage of the 70 spots each year during the 5 year period to see how many spots are actually being used by the company's employees. If certain slots are not used for the year, then they should be given up. Also, if the company relocates to Evanston, they may not need as much parking due to better public transit options.

      2. So, you are saying that these

        So, you are saying that these parking spaces have no value in this case and the city council should give the spaces away. The company is probably getting a big discount on the rental space since the building has been difficult to find a client. My guess is that this company has heard about the Evanston City Council's reputation for giving assets and dollars away.

        1. So, you are saying that these

          Well you tell me Skip, what is the value of something that generates no revenue.

  2. Don’t council members claim

    Don't council members claim that Evanston is a walking city?  If that's the case, let 'em walk.

    Another option might be to require that one employee for each space live in Evanston.  Workers tend to shop where they work.  Get off work and pick up groceries or dry cleaning or other family needs.  Then get in the car.  Workers who live out of town tend to do such purchasing out of town.

  3. Absolutely!

    Using underutilized resources to attract 200 tech sector employees! Thank you Economic Development and City Council, and anyone else involved!

    This is exactly what the garage should be used for!  If those employees spent just $5 a day, which doesn't even buy lunch, that is $1,000 a day! More likely to generate $300-500,000 in direct cash infusion to the city's economy, along with the Maple Ave project probably generating $1,000,000 a year in direct cash infusion I would say the City is finally getting a pretty good return on its investment in that unused garage!

    Quick math: $1.5 mil in dollars to local businesses per year for 170 spaces, that is $735 per month per space, over $8,800 per year, at a cost of $35,000 per space to build it could be considered a 25% annual return, but if you look how those direct expenditures multiply, the real economic impact is more likely 5 times that.  

    I am proud to live in a city that can do that kind of math!

  4.  let the building owner pay

     let the building owner pay for the parking spots.

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