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Plaza sale gives city a holiday bonus

Evanston's city budget got a nice little holiday gift when the retail portion of the Sherman Plaza development downtown changed hands as the year was ending.

The $44.1 million transaction earned the city over $220,000 in real estate transfer tax revenue.

Average selling price

The sale boosted December's average selling price for Evanston properties to $838,339. Back the plaza deal out of the numbers and the average would have been a more typical $444,773.

Crain's Chicago Business reports the sellers, Klutznick-Fisher Development Co. and Focus Development Inc., are due to receive an additional $11 million if they manage to lease within 18 months the one-sixth of the 152,000 square foot project that remains unoccupied. That would peg the total price buyer Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc. is paying at $363 per square foot.

Last October London-based Grosvenor Group agreed to buy a half-interest in the Church Street Plaza development nearby which reportedly valued that fully-leased property at $340 per square foot.

In a transaction recorded in October, the 1603 Orrington Ave. office building, Evanston's first skyscraper, was sold for $54.5 million, a transaction that valued the property at nearly $177 per square foot, a premium over office building prices in most Chicago suburbs.

The big sales also mean the city has hit its target of raising $4 million from the real estate transfer tax two months before the end of its fiscal year.

Transactions

The volume of sales last month, 111 transactions, was up a little from December 2005, but down substantially from 2004. For the fiscal year so far transactions are down 5 percent from 2005 and 20 percent from 2004.

In addition to the Sherman Plaza sale, six other multi-million dollar transactions were recorded last month.

In some ways the most notable may have been a new single family home at 2520 Isabella St., that sold for $1.4 million.

That's the lot next door to the home of Alderman Edmund Moran, 6th Ward. The demolition of the previous home on the site and construction of the new one sparked Ald. Moran's advocacy of the teardown tax ordinance that the City Council adopted last year.

In addition, an office building at 222 Hartrey Ave. was sold for $2.8 million to the Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov Elementary School.

And Fifth Third Bank acquired land for a planned new bank branch at 2400 Main St. for $1.5 million.

A condo on the top floor of the Optima Views development at 1720 Maple Ave. sold for $1.2 million. A single family home at 1224 Hinman Ave. sold for $1.47 million, and a home at 2657 Stewart Ave. went for $1.1 million.

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