Evanston aldermen will be asked Monday to approve purchase by the city of the former Boocoo cultural center building at 1823 Church St.
In a memo to aldermen, City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says that Boocoo’s developer and former owner, Daniel Cheifetz, had an estimated $1.2 million in debt on the property.
The building, which had housed meeting spaces and a cafe as well as music studio facilities, went into foreclosure and was acquired last month by Boston-based Capital Crossing.
A city appraisal estimated the property’s value at $315,000. Bobkiewicz says Capital Crossing has agreed to sell the building to the city for that price.
The property consists of a roughly 4,400 square-foot single-story buiding on a 10,000 square-foot lot.
Last year Jennifer Pritzker’s Tawani Enterprises acquired the 14,000 square-foot property at 1911-17 Church St., a block west of Boocoo, from Cheifetz for $442,500.
Bobkiewicz says a number of community groups have expressed interest in operating social service and music programs similar to Boocoo at the Boocoo site, but each would have required city assistance to acquire the property.
He says Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, hosted several community meetings encouraging the groups to unifiy their efforts, but the groups haven’t agreed on such a solution.
The city plans to pay for the 1823 Church acquisition from its Economic Development Fund, with repayment to be made over ten years with from tax increment revenues anticipated to be generated by the West Evanston TIF District.
Bobkiewicz says the acquisition, in the short term, would “serve to stabilize the property and the Church and Dodge business district” which he described as being “in the early stages of revitalization.”
Two new businesses — Fatty’s Burgers & More and the C&W Market and ice cream shop have recently opened in the 1900 block of Church.