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Bookman’s Alley easement up for approval

The downtown alley may become an outdoor dining and entertainment venue.

A rendering of a potential redevelopment of Bookman's Alley.

The City Council Monday is scheduled to approve a 25-year easement to permit development of the Sherman Avenue alley just north of the former Varsity Theater.

The long-time owner of the former theater building, Steve Rogin, has recently acquired ownership of the Huntley Building just north of the alley and has proposed resurfacing the alley and installing improvements including new lighting.

A city staff memo says the space would be used for outdoor dining, art fairs, musicians “and other destination gatherings.”

Under the agreement, Rogin would have to pay for any improvements and their maintenance and the city would retain access for utility work.

Rogin would pay the city $72,881.74 up front for the easement.

The easement extends only to the point where the east-west alley connects with a north-south alley on the block.

The alley is known as Bookman’s Alley, for the long-time bookstore that formerly operated in garages behind the Huntley Building. The garage area is now used by Alley Gallery and the Bookends and Beginnings bookstore.

The project was recommended for approval earlier this year by the city’s Economic Development Committee and Rogin has obtained letters of support two adjoining property owners Second Baptist Church and the Evanston Galleria Condominium Association.


Update 5/11/21: The easement plan was approved on the City Council’s consent agenda Monday night.

Related story

Concept unveiled for Bookman’s Alley downtown (3/3/21)

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