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Downtown building set for facelift

Evanston’s Economic Development Committee Wednesday voted to recommend to the City Council that it provide $11,000 to pay half the cost of facade improvements to a building at 816-818 Church St., near the Sherman Plaza complex downtown.

Evanston’s Economic Development Committee Wednesday voted to recommend to the City Council that it provide $11,000 to pay half the cost of facade improvements to a building at 816-818 Church St., near the Sherman Plaza complex downtown.

A rendering of planned changes to 816-818 Church St.

The building is owned by Behles & Behles, an Evanston-based architectural firm that has its office on the second floor.

The first floor has two storefronts.

One, formerly occupied by a card shop, is vacant, and Joe Behles told the committee that that The Rub, a yoga studio that occupies the other space, has asked to terminate its lease effective at the end of February.

Behles told the committee that real estate brokers have told him he needs to upgrade the building facade to attract new, quality tenants.

He said the planned improvements include removing the existing awnings and the deteriorated ground floor sandstone veneer.

The facade would get a new black granite base, similar to what’s on the two adjacent buildings, and a limestone facade for the first floor, as well as a new masonry coating over the pre-cast concrete second-floor facade to match the new first floor treatment.

While they supported this project, some members of the committee asked city staff to provide more details about such grant requests in the future and to provide objective measures of the benefits the city derives from each project.

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