Plans for a tax increment financing district for the Chicago-Main shopping district were pulled from the Evanston City Council’s agenda Monday night after merchants suggested its boundaries may be too narrow.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, whose 3rd Ward includes part of the proposed district, said in meetings with merchants in recent days she’d learned of other needs in the neighborhood that would fall outside the TIF boundaries proposed by city staff.

Wynne said the discussions were still very preliminary, but that merchants had suggested a need to revitalize parts of the shopping district that were outside the planned TIF boundaries — including shops on Custer Avenue south of the alley south of Main Street.

She said there was also talk of possibly including property on the north side of Main Street between Sherman Avenue and Custer Street. Only property on the south side of that block was in the original TIF proposa.

And Wynne said the merchants were concerned about doing more to improve city-owned parking lots in the area, and the alley south of Main used to access some of that parking.

Wynne said that rather than go forward with the existing plan and try to amend it on the City Council floor, city staff had concluded it made more sense to withdraw it and bring a revised version back for consideration at a future meeting.

Top: A revised TIF plan may stretch further down Custer Avenue from its intersection with Main Street. 

Related storis

Another Evanston TIF, another $20 million budget

Evanston’s Chicago-Main tax district plan advances

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Chicago-Main Park or Condo?

    Throughout all this TIFfing, it seems what has been forgotten is that we only have this empty parcel because several years before the real-estate "crash", a developer was poised to begin construction of a condo with shops on ground floor. The City had approved the project buth then (correct me if I am mistaken) the alderperson of the Ward came out against another condo at that intersection and zoning was changed.

    The developers fought and won in the courts and they or a successor developer began again. They started selling and also started the construction. The existing buildings, the late-lamented "The Main" and the apartment building hidden behind, were demolished and foundations built.

    Unfortunately, the market, by then, had gone South and sales were very slow and insufficient to move the project along. They stopped, probably went bust, were forced by the City to fill in the hole and foundations and left us a "doggie park".

    Now, unless I am mistaken that same alderperson wants a TIF to help the next generation of developers resurrect what might have, by now, been a ten year old building with tenants and shops. Of course, we cannot justify a one-lot TIF and so we bring in all those merchants on the other side of the tracks (pardon the implication that they are on the wrong-side, but they are in the next ward) to expand the tax base and have more funds to throw around.

    Deja-vu all over again!     in the words of the immortal Yogi Berra


  2. Look at the SE corner of Davis & Orrington!

    That is a great example of a developer providing a fantastic, but small, open space.  They even tore down part of the former Chandlers Building (albeit a dilapidated portion) at the corner to do it.  This is the sort of developer contribution we could use more of at our main intersections such as the one at Main & Chicago – and others, for that matter.  Please Alderman Wynne, whatever happens at this corner, the corner could use a nice bit of open space similar to what happened at Davis & Orrington! 

    1. Chandler vs Century theater plaza

      To jog your memory, recall that one of the "features" of the  theater complex was to be a people friendly plaza. Compare that befuddled city planned mess with the plaza at Chandlers. Chandlers is people friendly – it is actually used! The theater plaza is a cluttered mess, cut off by restaurant tables and other structures.

      Chandler  1

      Century     0

      1. Reply to Chandler vs Century

        I agree that the Century Theater "plaza" is not a plaza (which implies a public space) – it's a private restaurant.  It is not open and available like the very public space at Chandler.  The problem with the Century Theater plaza is that the developer agreed to lease the outdoor space with the corner resturant – and you cannot "walk through" it like you can the seating (Potbelly's) at the Chandler corner, which is moveable.  It is a real disappointment.  Speaking of a plaza…the open space at Sherman "Plaza" is not very well done either…not big enough and no sense of a public space at all.  No definition.  The developers really had some nerve calling it Sherman "Plaza"!

        Flexible space that is at least the size of the Chandler space and is public and always available is key – along with nice landscaping and a tree or two. 


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