Evanston aldermen will be asked tonight to decide what they want to do with the city-owned parking lot at 1714-1720 Chicago Ave., after a parliamentary maneuver at their last meeting let the clock run out on a deal to redevelop the site with an 11-story office building.
The motion at the Council’s June 10 meeting to postpone action on the contract extension requested by the developer was made by Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, and seconded by Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward. Under the Council’s rules a one-time motion to hold until the next meeting is not debatable and no vote of the full Council is taken on it.
It appears the aldermen tonight have a range of options — from reviving and extending the development agreement, through trying to come up with new parameters for a redevelopment project, to abandoning the several years of efforts to change the property’s status from that of a surface parking lot across an alley from the downtown public library.
The sale of the lot promised to net the city $4 million and the office building, supporters said, would bring hundreds of new jobs downtown along with substantial new tax revenue.
But opponents, led by the non-profit owners of the adjoining Woman’s Club of Evanston and Frances Willard Historical Association, argued that it would destroy the historic character of the block.
The project has appeared to have at least five supporters among the aldermen, but needs a super-majority vote for approval.