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Wanna back a downtown grocer?

Evanston’s Economic Development Committee tonight will review a request for up to $5 million in tax breaks for the 1890 Maple Ave. high-rise project.

The latest version of the proposal from developer Carroll Properties calls for $1.9 million in property tax rebates over 20 years and up to $3 million in sales tax rebates over 15 years.

The developer says the $60 million, 14-story project to build 176 rental apartments and 18,000 square feet of retail space for a grocery store needs the city help to gain construction financing in the current depressed market.

An analysis by city consultant Kane, McKenna says the project would dramatically boost property tax revenue to local taxing bodies over the next 20 years — generating between $2.6 million and $3.8 million for the city, and between $8.8 million and $12.7 million for local school districts.

That’s roughly triple the tax revenue the now-vacant three-story office building on the site was generating when it was still occupied.

Kane, McKenna estimates the grocery over 15 years would generate about $3 million in city sales tax revenue and nearly $2.2 million in city liquor tax revenue.

In a memo to the committee, the city’s interim community development director, Dennis Marino, notes that the tax breaks would be handled on a pay-as-you-go basis — so the city would have no liability unless the project was successfully completed and the grocery story was up and running.

Marino’s memo notes that the city has not previously shared incremental property tax revenue with a developer outside of the tax increment financing district structure. The TIF district that includes the 1890 Maple site is expiring this year.

He suggests that if the city is to consider such arrangements at all, it should limit them to two years after the expiration of a TIF and impose other conditions.

Carroll Properties recently received an extension of its planned development approval for the site which gives it until October 2013 to begin construction.

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