The long-brewing plan to lease Evanston’s former recycling center as a brewery is scheduled to come before the City Council for introduction tonight.
In July 2015 aldermen approved negotiating a lease with Smylie Brothers, which operates a brewpub downtown, to add a larger brewery operation at the recycling center site at 2222 Oakton St.
The proposal coming before Council tonight would slightly reduce the size of the leased parcel from the current dimensions of the recycling center property. It also anticipates that the city will construct a new public parking lot to the west of the leased property — for use by the brewery’s customers as well as visitors to James Park and the city’s animal shelter.
An aerial view of the site today, showing the current property lines in red.
In a memo to aldermen, City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz estimates the cost of the parking lot improvements, along with the addition of three new dog runs just west of the animal shelter, at $890,000. The memo claims that the city should be able to recover the cost of those improvements from parking meter revenue over a 20 year bond term for the project.
The lease calls for Smylie Brothers to pay $163,750 a year in rent on the property, after an initial 18-month rent free-period in which to construct the brewery. The rent payment would rise in subsequent years based on increases in the consumer price index.
The memo anticipates that the city would see an additional roughly $48,000 a year in liquor tax and the city’s share of property tax revenue from the project starting in 2018.
The proposal calls for a 10-year initial lease term with two five-year renewal options for Smylie Bros. as well as an option to purchase the property, subject to further City Council approval.
A detail showing the planned interior of the main recycling center buildng.
City staff is recommending a lease provision that would absolve the city from any liability to Smylie Bros. for claims regarding the alleged presence of hazardous substances on or near the property.
Smylie CEO Michael Smylie says he raised $5 million to redevelop the the brewpub at 1615 Oak Ave., in a building that had previously been a state unemployment office and that the pub has grossed voer $2.5 million in sales since it opened in June 2015.
He says the company already employes 60 people at the Oak Avenue location and would add about 25 more jobs at the Oakton Street site, which he hopes to open by next October.
Slow going for brewery deal with city (7/20/16)
Smylie Bros. wants recycling center (7/6/15)
Brewpub planned for vacant site on Oak (8/23/12)