Evanston's Economic Development Committee will be asked Wednesday to approve plans to explore creation of a new government entity to fund the proposed Northlight Theatre development downtown.
In a memo to the committee, City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz notes that a single-purpose unit of local government called the Centre East Metropolitan Exposition, Auditorium and Office Building Authority was created to develop Northlight's existing home in Skokie.
Under its enabling legislation, that authority only has the power to issue bonds to be repaid from the center's operation.
But some of the more than 50 other civic center authorities created in the state also have the power to impose property taxes, subject to referendum approval.
Bobkiewicz says Northlight and Farpoint Development, LLC, which has proposed a 395-foot tall hotel and residential tower to adjoin the proposed theater in the 1700 block of Sherman Avenue, asked for city assistance in exploring the funding mechanism for the building and also for help in financing a public parking garage as part of the development.
He says the developers have not asked for other financial help from the city, such as the use of tax increment financing.
A 1996 Chicago Tribune article on opening of the Skokie facility says it received a $10 million dollar grant from the state that was conditioned on creation of the special-purpose government authority to oversee it. The Village of Skokie also contributed $3 million to the project and ended up controlling six of the nine seats on the authority's board, with Niles Township controlling the rest.
The Skokie property is managed by Rhode Island-based Professional Facilities Management.
The EDC meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Civic Center.