Autobarn, Evanston's only auto dealership, received conceptual approval Wednesday from city officials for its plans to renovate a vacant industrial building at 222 Hartrey Ave. for an auto service and storage facility.
The project, first announced 18 months ago, now calls for locating service facilities for the company's Mazda, Fiat and Alfa Romeo dealerships in the former Shure Inc. headquarters building. The site would also provide indoor storage for about 250 cars and for another 300 cars in an open lot behind the building.
A view of the current condition of the building from Google Maps.
The plans, as presented by Autobarn's Peter Hett, call for covering the existing painted brick facade with insulating panels and a stucco finish.
Community Development Director Mark Muenzer said the stucco finish "is not something the city typically would encourage," but that given that the visibility of the property — behind the Howard-Hartrey shopping center and adjacent to the CTA Yellow Line tracks — is limited, and that the project is important to the community "its use is more appropriate."
The project will require another session before the city's Design and Project Review Committee to get final approvals before construction can begin.
The city has already approved a variety of financial incentives to help fund the project.