Economic Development Update: Trader Joe's and Demspter/Dodge TIF

Posted on Thursday May 17, 2012

Trader Joe’s announced earlier this year to locate at 1211 Chicago Avenue, expected opening is Spring 2013. The City of Evanston is participating in the project through support in providing land for parking at the store. To this end, the City Council voted (8-1) to authorize the purchase of $2.05 million in property to support these parking needs. Additionally, a public hearing was held May 14, 2012 regarding the creation of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District at Dempster St. and Dodge Ave. The proposed Dempster/Dodge TIF area is composed of a single parcel, owned by Bonnie Management. Despite its location at the busy intersection of Dodge and Dempster, this shopping center has faced chronic vacancies over the last decade. The parcel is of strategic importance to the City of Evanston, and particularly the west side community in terms of retail sales tax, jobs, neighborhood convenience, and quality of life.

Trader Joe's

TJs.jpgSince the February announcement, the developer has submitted a proposed site plan for the project that includes a 13,000 square foot store with a 78-stall surface parking lot located on the property at addresses commonly known as 1211 Chicago Avenue, 1223- 1225 Chicago Avenue and 1229 Chicago Avenue. The proposed site lay-out and design of the property will be subject to Plan Commission review and City Council consideration, through the Planned Development process. Below is a description of the properties associated with the development.

  • 1211 Chicago Avenue was purchased in August 2011 by Terraco for $2,300,000. The approximately 23,000 square foot commercial property contains a building that formally housed a Blockbuster Video store.
  • 223-1225 Chicago Avenue is currently owned by Sona Realty, but was placed under contract for purchase in the fall of 2011 by Terraco for a purchase price of $1,400,000. The 9,000 square foot property was originally purchased by the current owner in 2004 for $1,100,000 and is currently improved with a single-story retail building.
  • 1229 Chicago Avenue is an approximately 9,000 square foot parcel, owned by two parties. The underlying land is owned by Northwestern University, while the improvement, a single-family house, is owned by another party that leases the land from Northwestern University. The proposed purchase price of the property is $650,000.

The draft site plan for this project proposes the demolition or relocation of the existing structures at all addresses and construct the new 13,000 square foot store at the most southern portion of the site. Trader Joe’s anticipates that the proposed store at 1211 Chicago Avenue will be a successful one and that there will be a high-demand for parking at this location. In order to address the anticipated parking demand in this dense corridor, it is proposed that the property located at 1223-1225 Chicago and at 1229 Chicago Avenue, both located immediately north of the future Trader Joe’s, be acquired by the City for the purposes of parking. The additional parking created through a new City-owned parking lot will help ensure that metered parking spaces on Chicago Avenue and residential neighborhood parking will not be affected by overflow parking.

Learn more, staff memo>>>

View City Council slide presentation>>>

Dempster/Dodge TIF District

TIF.jpgThe proposed Dempster/Dodge TIF area is composed of a single parcel, owned by Bonnie Management. Despite its location at the busy intersection of Dodge and
Dempster, this shopping center has faced chronic vacancies over the last decade. The parcel is of strategic importance to the City of Evanston, and particularly the west side community in terms of retail sales tax, jobs, neighborhood convenience, and quality of life.

In the past the City has considered alternative economic development tools, with very limited success, including sales tax sharing and proactive contacts with potential retailers for the center. With the recent acquisition of the property by Bonnie
Management, there is a committed private sector partner in place to foster the revitalization of this shopping center. The designation of a TIF district is now under consideration to help facilitate more immediate re-tenanting of the vacant spaces, with quality businesses.

As required by state statue, the Joint Review Board (JRB) met on April 12, 2012 to review and consider this proposed District. The JRB unanimously approved the nonbinding advisory recommendation to the City Council to designate the Dempster/Dodge TIF district.

The consultants and staff presented the economic challenges driving the need for the TIF district. These challenges include both the competitive nature of retail at a local level and the fast pace of change of retail generally.

Several new shopping centers have opened in recent years (Howard/Hartrey, Main and McDaniel, Oakton and Hartrey) and downtown Evanston is a major center of retail. Furthermore, national retailers generally prefer proven locations including Old Orchard and Lincolnwood Town Center – in addition to downtown Evanston. National retailers are generally reducing their space needs and trying new “bricks and mortar” concepts as a result of competition from online retailers.

Staff suggested that by creating the TIF, there is potential to boost the performance of Evanston Plaza, and perhaps ready the site in preparation for future changes in the retail marketplace.

JRB members suggested a dedicated property manager could also help revitalize the center. Others pointed out that the Dempster/Dodge TIF is a single entity TIF which is not common in Evanston, while the consultants suggested it is not uncommon regionally.

Finally, the consultant reviewed the next steps in the process which included the public hearing notices published for the May 14, 2012 public hearing, plans for a short presentation for the May 14, 2012 public hearing, and the scheduled adoption of the ordinance (pending City Council review and public comments) on May 29, 2012.

Learn more, staff memo>>>

View City Council presentation>>>