Evanston aldermen this week decided they’d rather see storefronts at 524-526 Davis St. downtown remain vacant than see an adult daycare center open there.

Alderman Judy Fiske, whose 1st Ward includes the property, said the center would take up ground-floor retail space that neighbors would rather see filled with commercial uses that would generate more business for other businesses in the area.

But landlord Ted Mavrakis said the building has been empty for three years. Mavrakis said he’s welcome a restaurant or other tenant there, but can’t find one.

A few years ago the developer of the three Optima high-rise condo projects in town had proposed constructing an 18-story building, dubbed the Optima Promenade, on the Chicago Avenue and Davis Street corner that includes the property.

But city officials rejected that project in 2006 as a result of objections from neighbors, and the Davis Street site was bought by Mavrakis, who owns other commercial properties in Evanston, including the Fountain Square building.

Daycare operator Omega Community Healthcare operates similar adult daycare programs in Lincolnwood and Park Ridge.

Elio Montenegro, vice president of operations at Omega, said the program would have about 20 “active seniors” participating in the program at the center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

He said that activities would include arts and craft, bingo and weekly field trips and that participants would be able to go to restaurants and shops in the area.

The program cost, he said, is $60 a day, and some participants pay for it themselves, while the cost for others is covered by the Illinois Department of Aging.

The participants would get breakfast, lunch and a snack, all provided by outside caterers and not prepared on site, Montenegro added.

The special use permit required for the center had been recommended for approval by the Zoning Board of Appeals on a 4-2 vote.

But the aldermen voted 8-1 against the special use request, with only Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, voting against the denial motion.

The council will take a final vote on the move to reject the project at its next meeting on Dec. 13.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Omega not applying common sense

    Omega’s new to operating its own facilities, and didn’t realize they should do some research before picking a site.  The reason they wanted to open the facility in this location was that they are friends with the landlord.  A facility like this needs a driveway where wheelchairs can be loaded into their van.  It also needs some outdoor recreation space.

    The ZBA recommended a variety of restrictions on the special use, having to do with loading areas and smoking.  If those restrictions were approved by the city council, it would decrease  the impact on the neighborhood.  But regardless, Omega could have found a better site if they’d tried.

    1. Adult day care center

       I doubt a senior center would generate much business for surrounding entities.  if seniors had to be brought there for day care, unlike the Levy Center. This is likely planned as a respite care center for Alzheimer, disabled, etc. clients to relieve caretakers or family members. A better site would have outdoor access for warmer parts of the year.

  2. Adult Day Services

    The council is right in line with the city manager in the reduction of accessibility to services. Why have a positive progam… adult day service would provide…reducing isolation and stress on families through creative use of space and older resident’s time.

  3. Another anti-business vote from our grand City Council

    This is shocking and shameful.

    In this economic climate, our City Council won’t grant a special use permit for an adult daycare in a storefront that has been VACANT for three years?

    What kind of message does that send the downtown business community? These seniors would shop and eat in downtown Evanston.

    First, the City Council says no to churches renting out vacant storefronts, and now it’s senior citizens that are shut out.

    So what will the City Council do about the growing number of vacant storefronts?

    That’s right, raise taxes, fees and utlity rates.

    Vote the rascals out!!

    1. Typical

      In this day the Council should be looking for almost any type of business that wants to be in Evanston.  Instead they want to keep churches out  and now an adult daycare center.  Is there any type of business they do like ? 

      Shameful and costly to taxpayers to keep business out.

  4. The real missed opportunity

    Rejecting the adult day care center is nothing compared to the flat out rejection of the 2006 development proposal.  That project would have brought about 170 new condo’s downtown. 

    The new building had retail & restaurants ready to get in, utilize a large open plaza, and create positive activity for that corner.  Not to mention generating sales tax revenues and  many jobs that by now would have paid easily over a million in payroll to local citizens.

    In real estate taxes the city has lost around  $500,000. per year and the school districts 1.5 million per year.  Compounded the city has lost to date around 1 million and the 2 school districts around 3 million dollars, 4 million unrealized dollars so far!  

    And remember to look forward and keep counting each and every day, year after every year. Over the next 5 short years add another 10 million to that total for a rough sum of 14 million and you just begin to get some perspective on the loss every taxpayer in this city was forced to incur.

    I am sure the current owner has had his r.e. taxes relieved to the paltry empty building eyesore  rate delivering some few thousand dollars in taxes, nowhere remotely near  the lost 2 mil a year. 

    It’s ok though, both the city and the school districts are flush with cash and probably has no good use for those extra millions anyway.  And those jobs that never opened, oh well.  And most importantly, we kept that one alley from getting too congested. 

    1. If the developer had started

      If the developer had started construction, he would not have been able to sell many of the units in the building, and would not have finished the project.  He would have defaulted, and there would be no tax dollars and a much worse eyesore.

  5. No cities, particularly ones

    No cities, particularly ones in high-tax/ high-debt democratic-leaning states, are in any position to choose which kinds of jobs to create. This is the New Normal: fighting for scraps of jobs. Evanston had a chance to be on the front-end of a 30-year economic growth area and said no thanks. Disappointing but not surprising.

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