Evanston aldemen tonight will hold a special meeting to vote on a proposed county property tax break to help turn the the vacant commercial property at 611-621 Howard St. into an event space.

The building on the site formerly was partially occupied by a Sherwin Williams paint store.

New owner Mohamed Eldibany has proposed investing nearly $1 million to renovate the bulding to turn it into an event space that he plans to lease to the owners of the Peckish Pig restaurant, located across Callan Avenue at 623 Howard.

The restaurant owners predict they would hold a total of 130 events — concernts, graduations and weddings — at the new facility each year.

As part of the application for the tax break Eldibany has said that the renovations would not be economically feasible without the 12-year reduction in property taxes, which city officials estimate would reduce the property’s tax bill from roughly $1.18 million to $530,000 over that period. With the tax break the property is still estimated to generate more than twice as much property tax revenue as if it remained vacant.

Plans for the event space project were approved by the Design and Project Review Committee and the Zoning Board of Appeals in April and by the City Council in May.

The Economic Development Committee recommended last week that the City Council support the requested tax break.

Related stories

But don’t call it a ‘banquet hall’ (4/12/19)

Peckish Pig owners plan event space on Howard (4/1/19)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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