A city consultant says Evanston’s commercial real estate market has several times the vacant Class B space needed to relocate office tenants who’d be displaced by the proposed Fountain Square tower.

Consultant Marty Stern of U.S. Equities Realty says, in a report to be presented to the city’s Economic Development Committee Wednesday night, that nine different generally suitable Class B buildings have a total of 50,072 square feet of vacant space — nearly four times the 12,887 square feet still occupied in the 708 Church St. building.

Most of that Class B space is on the edge of downtown.

The tenants who would need to move generally have less than 1,000 feet of space now, so Stern eliminated several buildings that have only large blocks of space available from his list.

In addition, Stern says there is about 141,000 square feet of more expensive Class A space available downtown and 21,000 square feet of less expensive Class C space, most of it downtown.

Opponents of the tower project have claimed that office tenants displaced by the tower would be driven out of Evanston because of a lack of affordable office space in the city.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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