Under a plan scheduled to be approved by Evanston aldermen tonight, non-profit groups interested in leasing the lakefront Harley Clarke mansion will have just over two months to prepare a detailed response to a city request for proposals for the property.

The revised timeline calls for releasing the RFP on Aug. 3 with submissions due Oct. 9.

City staff had originally proposed issuing the RFP on July 20 and giving would-be lessees until Nov. 20 to respond.

The shorter time line had been suggested by aldermen at their July 10 meeting — on the theory that a timeline that let the city make a lease award before the end of the year would give the winning bidder an opportunity to capitalize on the tendency of donors to make more charitatble gifts just before the year-end tax deadline.

But the short deadline also likely reduces the chance that new bidders for the mansion will emerge, given the head start that the Evanston Lakehouse & Gardens group has from its two-year pursuit of the mansion property.

The revised RFP draft also specifies that the mansion development could include a “light-fare cafe” but not a full-service restaurant.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Hopefully a quick death to this boondoggle
    The rental fee should be at least $5000 or an independent RE firms valuation for a for profit property. If no one is willing to make that sell it to a private developer or tear it down. We have had this albatross hanging around for much too long sucking a land resource and not contributing to Evanston or the terrible Evanston financial situation.
    People complain about NU property being off the tax rolls. What about the city government building, groups protected by the Council and the Reservations that would like the horse and buggy days, and ‘arts’ [if that is what anyone would call them].
    Sell the current city hall money pit, move to one or more vacant buildings in Evanston and downsize the number and size of city offices–physical and employees.

  2. coach house cafe, event space

    I liked the Coach House Cafe and the Premiere Event space ideas they have listed on their website. I pretty much liked everything except the “environmental education center where kids and adults alike can learn about the lake, the environment, the challenges of climate change and how we can address them.” We have so many non profits, environmental programs, etc. It’s such a beautiful space and we already have an ecology center.  Let this be a treat for Evanston residents! I’m all for the environment but I just want to come here and enjoy and relax, get away from any political/educational motives. I want to grab a cup of coffee or wine and not have someone from Greenpeace hovering over me.  If they want to be like la principal and give a portion of the proceeds to their environmental cause that’s great!  Just prefer a more subtle approach.

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