Quantcast

Another west side Civic Center plan

Evanston developer John Wertymer says he's teamed up with Roger Parris of Manchester Realty to put together a proposal for a second new Civic Center site on Evanston's west side.

Mr. Parris owns the former Mayfair rail right-of-way where it curves to join the main line just south of Simpson Street and west of Green Bay Road.

Mr. Wertymer says that to make their proposal work the city would also have to acquire the Public Storage property on the corner of Simpson and Green Bay.

City officials have said repeatedly that the owners of Public Storage have shown no interest in selling, and it's unclear whether the city would be willing to use its eminent domain power to force a sale.

But various officials and residents have criticized the Public Storage site as being incompatible with their goals for creating a vibrant retail area at the Simpson-Green Bay intersection.

The site is just across the Metra tracks from the city's municipal service center, so a new Civic Center there would be no further away than the service center is from the existing Civic Center.

The earlier proposal for a west side Civic Center calls for building on land on the south side of Emerson Street west of Ashland Avenue that's owned by Leon Robinson, parts of which once were a service and storage area for his bus company.

The parcel controlled by Mr. Robinson is over three acres in size. The Wertymer-Parris proposal would be about the same size — but only with the inclusion of the Public Storage land they don't control.

The City Council has been seeking a new headquarters for city government for several years. Two referenda on the April ballot will ask residents whether they want to keep the existing Civic Center.

Editors’ Picks