Garbage carts could soon be replaced with brewing tanks at Evanston’s former recycling center after aldermen Monday authorized the city manager to negotiate an agreement for Smylie Bros. Brewing Co. to take over the building at 2222 Oakton St.
Tanks at Revolution Brewery in Chicago in an image from the Smylie Bros. presentation.
Representatives of youth sports groups that failed to come up with funding for an earlier plan to take over the building objected to the decision, as did a new youth sports group that also appeared to lack the financial resources to adapt the space.
And at least one citizen complained that the planned brewery would be less than 1,000 feet from Dawes Elementary School.
The city earlier this year sought requests for qualifications for potential new users of the building. Three responsive proposals were received, and city staff reviewing the proposals gave the one from Smylie Bros. a near-perfect score, by far the highest.
Alderman Brian Miller, 9th Ward, cast the only vote against the proposal. He said he didn’t believe the brewery and restaurant concept was the best use for the property.
Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, said he had supported the idea of using the building at the edge of James Park for a recreation facility, but said the city’s been looking for a new use for the property for four years and he believes Smylie Bros. “will do an excellent job.”
The company last year opened a brew pub on Oak Avenue downtown and wants to expand because it’s reached its production capacity there.
Alderman Ann Rainey, whose 8th Ward includes the property, said the buiding has been vacant, except for use for storage, for 15 years and that the fears of opponents about the project are unsubstantiated, since the city already has several restaurants that serve liquor located close to schools.
Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, said the Smylie Bros. concept would create jobs and generate new tax revenue for the city.