Autobarn plans to bring a fourth car brand to its collection of Evanston dealerships and is seeking a sales-tax sharing deal with the city to pull it off.

The Economic Development Committee will review the proposal for the new Fiat dealership tonight, which calls for the city to rebate to Autobarn 80 percent of sales tax revenue it receives from the dealership over the next four years.

Autobarn owner Richard Fisher estimates the cost of setting up the new dealership at $2.05 million. The agreement, as proposed by city staff, would cap the money from the sales tax rebate at $520,000.

Fisher plans to locate the Fiat dealership in what’s now a used car showroom at 1034 Chicago Ave.

He says the new dealership, which would be moved from a current Fiat location in Highland Park, would add at least 17 jobs in Evanston.

Autobarn has been working over the past year to expand its service and storage operations to the former Shure headquarters at 222 Hartrey Ave. and free up more sales space for its dealerships on Chicago Avenue.

The City Council has approved a $2.5 million tax increment funding agreement for the project on Hartrey as well as supporting a resolution to qualify the site for a county property tax reduction program.

The council is scheduled to vote next month on a new four-year, 50/50 sales tax sharing agreement for Autobarn’s existing Mazda, Volkswagen and Nissan dealerships.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. NO

    I would assume that those 17 jobs would be mostly made up of the employees that worked in Highland Park. I don't see how this would be a plus for Evanston. It appears that the Autobarn keeps coming back to the same well to build their business, the Evanston taxpayer. They can't expect this to happen again for the 3rd time in a year.

    Evanston City Counsel better have a great reason to say anything but NO.


    1. No reasonable justification for this

      I agree with this comment. I think this is ludicrous. There are no new jobs being added, just rearranging of existing jobs. What is even crazier is the fact they are asking for tax rebates for the existing dealerships. To me there is no reasonable justification for this. I feel this whole deal is the equivalent to me saying I want to put an addition on my house but I can't afford to pay for it so I'm just going to not pay my property taxes so I can pay for my addition.

  2. Tax Break for Everyone ?

    All businesses and residents should ask the Council for a tax-break, maybe for until they are 110 with no payments needed after death [i.e. by relatives].

    Given how the Council seems to pass them out for every conceiveable reason—not to mention gifts to businesses they pick as "winners" we should stand a good chance to get them.

    With a Council and Manager who seem to have no understanding of economics, budgets, or fairness of tax policy, anything is possible.

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