The City of Evanston’s annual economic development report says sales and other business tax revenue increased 8 percent last year while retail and office vacancies declined to their lowest levels in a decade.
The vacancy figures from CoStar Realty Information show retail vacancies down from 8 percent a decade ago to 4 percent and office vacancies below 5 percent, down from over 7 percent a decade ago.
Rents for Evanston retail space now average $22.55 per square foot while office rental rates average $28 per square foot, according to CoStar.
The demand for office space for startups and one-person businesses has led to addition of more coworking spaces. Industrious at 909 Davis has expanded to a total of 114 offices. CoLab, long-established at 900 Chicago Ave., has added a second space at 1880 Oak Ave. and startup 818 Coworking has opened at 818 Lake St.
The city’s total collections from sales, hotel, liquor and amusement taxes rose from $21.3 million in 2017 to $23 million in 2018.
Sales tax, up nearly $900,000, was the biggest contributor to the increase, followed by the hotel tax, up over $400,000 and the liquor tax, up over $300,000.
Community Development Director Johanna Leonard, in the report says one area that still has significant retail vacancies — along Church Street near Maple Avenue — presents “a short-term challenge resulting from shifts in the retail market and ownership expectations of rents.”
The city’s jobless rate averaged 3.3 percent during 2018 — lower that the national, state and Chicago regional rates through the year.
Three tower cranes at construction sites downtown — at 811 Emerson St., 1500 Sherman Ave. and 1727 Oak Ave. — signal the impending arrival of over 650 new housing units that are expected to bring about 1,000 new residents to downtown.
The full report is available online.