A city advisory committee tonight will review a developer’s request for $2.9 million in tax increment financing assistance for a new development on the southeast corner of Chicago Avenue and Main Street in Evanston.
The project itself — a nine-story, mixed-use development — has already been approved by the City Council, but developer John O’Donnell says the plan for offices on the building’s second floor doesn’t make financial sense without the city aid.
The Chicago-Main TIF District Advisory Committee is scheduled to hear a presentation from the developer tonight and reach a recommendation on the project at a follow-up meeting next week.
Ultimate approval of the financial assistance request is up to the City Council.
O’Donnell, in a presentation prepared for the meeting says the development costs for the offices will total $5.1 million, while likely rental income would justify only a value of $1.6 million to $2.2 million.
As an additional incentive to get the office space built, the city, according to an appraisal report included in the presentation, is prepared to become the master lessee for the office space and then operate it as a business incubator space for new start-up firms.
The overall cost of the development — which will have ground floor retail and rental apartments on upper floors– is estimated at $45 million. Assuming final approvals are received this fall, it could be completed by the spring of 2016.
The property has been vacant since 2007 and went through foreclosure after plans for a condominium development on the site fell through.
The city has been seeking for several years to encourage office development near the CTA Purple Line and Metra stations at Main Street as a way of creating more jobs in the city and stimulating business for retail shops in the area.
But appraisers don’t yet consider the area to be an established office location and there is only a minimal amount of office space in the neighborhood now.