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City plans to subsidize new bar on Howard

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Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to vote on plans to use city and federal funds to subsidize establishment of a new wine bar and cocktail lounge in a city-owned building on Howard Street.

Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to vote on plans to use city and federal funds to subsidize establishment of a new wine bar and cocktail lounge in a city-owned building on Howard Street.

The bar, called Ward Eight, after the 8th Ward that includes Howard, is a project of Chicago entrepreneurs Anne Carlson and Cody Modeer.

Community and Economic Development Director Steve Griffin says they approached the city last September about opening a wine bar in Evanston, and, working with Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, came up with the plan to locate it in the three-story building the city acquired a year ago at 692-31 Howard, next to the Howard Street police outpost.

Four inter-related proposals to be voted on by the City Council tonight would:

  • Let the couple rent a two-bedroom apartment over the bar for $958 a month for the next year.
  • Provide a $130,000 loan from federal Community Development Block Grant funds for bar furnishings and fixtures to be repaid over 10 years at 4 percent interest with monthly payments of $1,316.19.
  • Provide a $100,000 grant funded by general obligation bonds to be repaid from tax increment finance district revenue to upgrade the retail space with new bathrooms, air conditioning and electrical work.
  • Provide a five-year lease on the first floor space with an option to purchase the entire building after three years. The lease would be rent-free in the first year, with the $24,000 a year to be paid in the second and third years applicable as a downpayment on purchase of the property for a total of $362,650 at the end of the third year.

The $362,650 purchase price would almost, but not completely, cover the $237,650 the city paid to acquire the building and improvements it plans to make to the property.

An architect's rendering of plans for the interior of the new bar.

Plans for the wine bar show a space with eight bar stools, three small tables, three large booths and an area with lounge-style seating.

The aldermen are also scheduled to approve liquor licenses for three new establishments tonight — Creperie Saint Germain, in the space at 1512 Sherman Ave. formerly occupied by Donatella Mediterranean Bistro, Todoroki, at 524-26 Davis St., and World of Beer, at 1601 Sherman Ave.

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