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Wilmette-based Terraco Inc. has sold the newly constructed building housing the Evanston Trader Joe’s store to California-based Loja Real Estate.

Loja announced the the purchase today, The deal closed on Oct. 2, less than a month after the new store opened for business.

Loja said it acquired the Evanston property along with another Trader Joe’s building in Alburquerque, N.M., for a combined total of about $15 million. Cook County Recorder of Deeds records indicate the sale price for the Evanston building was $11 million.

Terraco paid $2.3 million for the old Blockbuster store that formerly occupied the site.

Loja CEO Tom Engberg said in a news release that the two acquisitions, which bring his firm’s portfolio of Trader Joe’s buildings to five “fit our overall strategy of acquiring single-tenant retail properties supported by best in class retailers located in highly desirable locations.”

Loja’s Vice President of Acquisitions said the firm was drawn to the Evanston store at 1211 Chicago Ave. “by the economic drivers of being located in a college community in an irreplaceable location.

The City of Evanston last year spent just over $2 million to acquire two pieces of property that form most of the parking lot for the new store. That land remains city-owned, but subject to a 70-year lease to the owner of the buiding.

City officials have estimated the Trader Joe’s will generate upwards of $500,000 a year in sales, liquor and property tax revenue for the city.

The privately-held Trader Joe’s grocery store chain operates 398 stores around the United States with annual sales reportedly in excess of $8.5 billion.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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18 Comments

  1. Evanston building worth $11M

    Evanston building worth $11M – Terraco paid $2.3 million for a portion of the property used, City of Evanston contributed $2M – yet we do not get any benefit of the property value increase, e.g. a return on our investment.

    Trader Joe's is a highly profitable corporation but is skilled at doing what many businesses seem to do these days and that is to hold a city hostage for their supposed tax revenue/jobs generated. Call these kind of deals what they are – corporate welfare that privitizes profits while socializing expenses.

    1. Return on Investment

      If I could get my money back in 4 years and then earn 500k annually, I would do that every day, wouldn't you.

    2. Evanston 2 Million

      FYI: The City of Evanston last year spent just over $2 million to acquire two pieces of property that form most of the parking lot for the new store. That land remains city-owned, but subject to a 70-year lease to the owner of the buiding

  2. Evanston jobs???

    How many residents of Evanston were hired for the 80 positions at Trader Joes-Evanston??  Did they display any sense of commitment to our community by prioritizing Evanston applicants out of the thousands who came to apply???  Why won't they answer that question when asked by city staff?      I would think with the $2m investment that the city made to bring them here that there might be some give back in employing local residents.  When you shop at TJ's ask the friendly crew members if they live in Evanston.  

    1. No

      Hey Dickelle, take your activism to the city or corporate, and NOT an employee of TJs Evanston by asking them if they live in Evanston.  Everyone deserves to work anywhere, particularly if they are qualified.  

      1. …said someone named

        …said someone named Anonymous.

        What does it hurt to strike up a conversation with your neighborhood grocier? Sure anybody has the right to work there, but Dickelle is absolutely correct that priority should've been given to the SAME people whose taxes were used to help build the damn thing.

        1. Better option

          Perhaps it would be better to engage the store manager directly.  Can she ask him how many of his employees are from Evanston, or at least what percentage?  I was just against approaching and asking every employee about where they live, it's a little shoddy and may put someone who is just trying to earn a living on edge.  Keep these individuals out of it.

          Do you know when the boycott and marching will start outside TJs? 🙂

      2. city or corporation?

        Of course i asked the city – who asked the Corporation- who refused to answer the question of how many Evanston residents were hired out of the 80 new employees at the store!!!

        1. Wisdom of a $2 million handout with no strings attached?

          Employing a certain percentage of Evanstonians for the first X years?  Getting a return on the value increase in the property if the building owner sold the property within the first X number of years?

          These concrete benefits to Evanston residents sound good. But are they included in the deal to give Trader Joe's the use of the parking lot for decades to come for virtually nothing?  I don't think so. 

          Is the City of Evanston in such a weak position that we must give away something worth $2 million and not get anything concrete in the deal?  Who on behalf of the  City negotiates such giveaways without being able to get something more than hoped-for sales tax and property tax revenue in return? 

          Do we have the right people at City Hall negotiating these deals?

    2. Evanston residents are awesome

      I would tend to believe the hiring team for the store would prefer hiring Evanston residents, and I'd bet the majority of employees are from just down the street. Makes good business sense to hire locals, and Evanston residents are awesome, if I do say so myself. 🙂

  3. If you’re “IN” you’re “OUT”!

    This is my new policy on voting in the next elections.  After this mess going on in our nations capitol and the way our local elected officials spend "our" money (or don't spend it, in the case of properly funding state pension obligations) I have decided that I am tired of the devil I know, and will now vote for the devil I don't know.  I don't think its possible to do any worse  

  4. Transfer Stamp

    In addition to sales revenue generation, isn't a seller responsible for a transfer stamp on all property sales?  In addition to the $2.3M original sale, an $11M sale should have generated quote a bit of revenue from that stamp.

  5. Trader Joe’s-Good deal for Evanston?

    The recent and quick sale of the Trader Joe's property raises several interesting questions and issues. It's still too early to determine if Trader Joe's is a "good deal for Evanston" or not. I agree with Toni Gilpin's view that when taxpayer money is used, "City officials should demand honest answers and provide accurate information to the public, so citizens can assess whether such subsidies are worthwhile." We know that the City gave $2 million to attract Trader Joe's, Terraco paid $2.3 million for the site and invested money – (we don't know how much) – to build out the property, and they just sold the property for $11 million. It would appear that the City of Evanston poorly structured this deal, since we put up capital, assumed risk, and Terraco received the profits from this sale. The City of Evanston will receive a tax payment based on the sale of this property, and it will receive ongoing sales taxes from Trader Joe's. Hopefully, the City of Evanston will learn from this example and structure financial deals in a manner that provides upside to taxpayers, and just doesn't burden us with the risk. Again, Trader Joe's may turn out to be in taxpayer's benefit, but we won't know unless the City provides disclosure and transparency. Similarly, will the City provide disclosure and transparency on other "investments" like the Chicago Chicken and Waffle House, Ward 8, Peckish Pub, FEW distillery, Harley Clarke mansion, Heartwood Center, Curt's Cafe, Boocoo Cultural Center, etc, etc, etc. When taxpayer money is used, government officials are obligated to give its citizens complete and accurate information and analysis.

    1. Get the $2 million back?

      I assume the city will get the $2 million back after the sale.  Right ?

      Certainly even the Evanston government would not make a deal and sign cotnracts that would not pay back the city if the property was sold and would put the city at the top of line of creditors if the supported business failed.  If not those who signed the deal should be indited for mis-use of funds.

      But then again we have seen the way the Council gives out money for non-economic [really non-senical] reasons.

  6. ROI

    Isn't it funny how 'liberal' Evanston will support this blatant corporate welfare in its own backyard, but criticize big business in general? We'll see how large the ROI is when total grocery sales tax receipts are tallied. I suspect there will be an increase, but certainly nowhere near as high as promised, due to TJ's cannibalizing sales from its neighbors

    1. But will City of Evanston gives us the information?

      As the saying goes, "politics makes strange bedfellows" Evanstonians criticize "big business" in one breath, and turn around and support TIFs, $2 million for Trader Joe's and other subsidies to private business. The point i raised yesterday and will reiterate today is that when our precious and limited taxpayer dollars are used to "help" a business, the City of Evanston has an OBLIGATION to provide accurate and complete information to the public, including their analysis justifying the "investment." I am not totally against the use of TIFs and subsidies, but i am highly skeptical of their effectiveness. Our Alderman and staff have good intentions, but i have seen a lack of rigor in their programs, and i have seen very little follow up and information shared with the public AFTER these "investments" have been made. Also, the structure of the deals leaves much to be desired. Seems like taxpayers retain a lot of the risk, especially if the project fails, and we receive only a limited amount of the upside if the project succeeds.

  7. It would have been impressive

    it would have been impressive if the new trader joes had hired some of the "street wise" vendors or other 

    panhandlers roaming chicago ave and down town evanston to work at the new store . 

    the one thing trader joes gives to the community that is refreshing is the happy attitude the employees demonstrate . ALL the other businesses in evanston could use a bit of the "coolaid" . 

  8. Why residency should matter.

    Employing Evanston residents means that the money that we spend has a greater chance of staying in the community.

    Giving residents first consideration on such projects should be part of the negotiation as should repayment of grants or loans. It makes sense to help our own as it helps the economic and social fabric of our town.

    The City itself should also endeavor to employ residents when hiring and should also require residency of employees within six months of their employment. Such a policy would afford a built in interest in the community as well as a finanicial stake and contribution to the economic well being of Evanston.

    As it is now, there is no residency requirement and employment with the City is merely a "job." The money and the commitment to the well being of the community ends at quitting time when the employee and his/her paycheck leaves town.

    Grandfather in current emploees if that would make this easier to pass.

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