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Update 12/10/19: Evanston aldermen Monday night approved the award of a nearly $129,000 contract to explore the value of the city’s real estate assets — buildings, land, parks and garages.

The contract was approved without discussion on the Council’s consent agenda.

The Chicago office of Jones Lang LaSalle Americas was recommended by staff for the phase one contract award from among four firms that submitted bids.

In a memo to aldermen, Interim City Manager Erika Storlie says project would see the firm make recommendations to the City Council about potential future use of city properties including their space efficiency and utilization, sustainability and resiliency and potential adaptation to modern standards, as well as their real estate value and highest and best use.

Phase one of the project would conclude with the consultant providing a preliminary report regarding a subset of the properties viewed as most promising for more detailed evaluation regarding disposition or renovation opportunities.

City Council, with input from the community and staff, would then determine which properties to consider for phase two evaluation that would involve developing more detailed cost estimates and strategies for dispostion or renovation.

JLL has provided a cost estimate of $145,761 for phase two of the project.

A third phase, Storlie says, could involve brokerage services for disposition of properties and development of detailed renovation cost estimates for renovation work.

The study follows estimates from staff last summer that the Civic Center needs as much as $17 million in repairs and upgrades and the suggestion by some aldermen that other city properties, including the police station and fire headquarters building at 1454 Elmwood Ave., may be becoming obsolete.


Police Headquarters at 1454 Elmwood Ave. (Google Maps)

City officials have also recently considered, but rejected, selling a city parking lot on Chicago Avenue downtown for construction of a new office building, and Mayor Steve Hagerty has suggested the city should consider selling one or more of its three downtown parking garages.

The City Council spent many years last decade considering a possible sale of the Civic Center, but ultimately decided to stay put and only make some critical repairs, including replacing the leaky roof.

Related stories

Staff seeks ‘space planning’ study for Civic Center (9/14/19)

Back to the future: Talk of new Civic Center (8/6/19)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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