Smithfield Properties, owner of the former Kendall College site, will ask Evanston aldermen tonight for extra time to complete infrastructure work at the site.

The developer, citing difficulties in obtaining financing for real estate projects across the country in the current economic climate, is asking that it be allowed to postpone making infrastructure improvements to common areas within the site until it is able to begin construction of the 20 single family homes approved for the property.

The City Council approved the redevelopment plan for the full-block site bounded by Lincoln Street, Orrington Avenue, Colfax Street and Sherman Avenue in September 2006 after two years of debate.

The redevelopment plan included a provision for an automatic two year extension of the Sept. 19, 2009, completion date for the project if demolition and seeding work and the infrastructure improvements were completed.

The infrastructure work includes paving two private alleys, creating a storm water detention system and providing connections to the city’s water and sewer system.

The demolition and seeding work has been completed, but the infrastructure work has not begun.

In a letter to aldermen, Smithfield’s attorney, Steve Friedland, says the delay in infrastructure work “will not have any adverse impact on the site or the surrounding neighborhood.”

But he says that requiring the work to be done now would result in a significant financial hardship to the developer.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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