Evanston aldermen tonight will be asked to spend $1.4 million to buy a building at 1223-25 Chicago Ave. to be used as a parking lot for the planned new Trader Joe’s supermarket.

The developer of the Trader Joe’s, on the site of a former Blockbuster video store at 1211 Chicago Ave., has had the property just to the north under contract to purchase for that price since last fall. That building now houses an L.A. Tan salon and a shuttered restaurant.

Funds for the purchase would be taken from the city’s parking fund.

A staff memo proposing the purchase says the city anticipates reaching an agreement with the developer for maintenance and operation of the parking lot, and it suggests that the city could receive additional revenue from overnight parking in the lot.

The proposed Trader Joe’s, the memo claims, is likely to generate between $395,000 and $541,000 in property, sales and liquor tax revenue annually for the city.

There was no estimate in the memo of how much revenue the city might realize from the new parking lot or what the cost of demolishing the existing building would be, but the memo suggests that the lot would help reduce parking congestion in the neighborhood that might otherwise be created by the new store.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Let the complaining begin…

    Will be fun to hear the complaining from the Usual Suspects on this one.

    Pro business or not boys?

    Maybe they won't scream so loud  if Trader Joe's associates wear short Scottish kilts and push up bras.

    1. Let me start

      Well, how much in revenue has the $11,000 grant to the Behles building downtown done for tax revenues? I'm glad it resulted in the business to the Behles firm (5 Guys) I'm just wondering about the payback to the city.

      How about the roof renovations and brickwork at 1459-1463 Elmwood Ave? The building has been vacant now for quite some time. How about the $170,000 for the museum that never opened? I'm all for getting business here but the credibility on these things is sorely lacking. Please correct me if I misspeak here.

      We do have a developing situation on Howard street involving a city grant of $100,000 for a bar. Who knows how that will work out. Someone should point out that Evanston can only control the north side of that street. Or the $325,000 for another Howard property the city now owns.

      Since we have spent so much renovating the north side of Howard street, and are in such dire financial straights, perhaps the council should gain some credibility before making such a significant "investment". How much did we pay for either the Whole Foods or Jewel lots one block south?

      Gaining revenues by giving things away is a suspect plan.

  2. Parking Lot Revenue from overnight parking

    The City of Evanston will develop the parking lot and make money from overnight parking permits.  Sounds like a good long term investment to me.

    Many of the city parking lots on the south east side of Evanston have waiting lists.  I waited 9 months for the opportunity to pay the City of Evanston for a monthly parking permit in a city lot.  There is a permit lot at Dempster and one at Main – no city lots with permit parking in between.

    Providing off street parking along Chicago – where renewed residential construction is taking place – is a wonderful long term plan.

    Trader Joe's is a great grocery store.  We will have lots of people traveling up from Rogers Park to shop – more money and taxes and traffic for Evanston.

    The "We give you a daytime parking area and you give us a great business" deal is savvy and sound.




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