City staff, in a memo summarizing a consultant’s report, suggest Evanston should consider selling its Church Street parking garage.

The memo, to be discussed at Monday’s virtual City Council meeting, also suggests that aldermen consider building a new combined city hall and police station on some city-owned property downtown.

The $129,000 report, from consultants at Jones Lang LaSalle, reviews more than a dozen city-owned properties and explores their potential market value.

It notes that the existing Civic Center has nearly 115,000 square feet of space to house just over 160 employees — which is more than triple the 225 square feet per employee that JLL says is now typical for office buildings.

It also says the building’s original construction as a high school makes it difficult to reconfigure for more efficient usage.

The report suggests that both current sites could be sold for redevelopment — the Civic Center potentially for more than $14 million, the police station for $3.5 million.

The staff memo, from Economic Development Manager Paul Zalmezak, suggests not moving forward at this time with a phase two consulting contract with JLL to develop more detailed valuations of properties that might be sold because of the impact of COVID-19 on the city budget.

Instead, Zalmezak recommends revising plans for that phase two study to require less work from the consultants to reduce its overall cost.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. selling properties

    This seems like exactly the wrong time to be making such fateful decisions about  selling the Civic Center and the Church Street garage.  We citizens are not free to attend the pertinent meetings.  I also seem to remember that relocating the Civic Center was voted down before!  Any new owner of the garage would surely raise the rates for parking there; would not give movie goers 4 hours for free.  Please forget this idea!

    1. Selling property

      Hi anon,

      You can sign up to comment at the virtual City Council meeting here:

      Just because something was rejected over a decade ago, doesn’t mean that it should never be considered again. (But that doesn’t mean the outcome of the debate will necessarily be different this time.)

      Somebody who wanted free parking while attending the movie theater would be unlikely to choose to park at the Church Street garage, several blocks from the theater, when the Maple Avenue garage is right across the street.

      — Bill


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