Acting, it seemed, as quickly as they could before their term expired, the lame duck City Council held a special meeting on May 4 to authorize the Interim City Manager to negotiate and sign a redevelopment agreement with PARC Investments LLC (“PARC”), under which the City will rebate up to $4.1 million in property and sales taxes to PARC in connection with the development of a mixed-use high rise at 1890 Maple Ave.
One week before, at the April 27 City Council meeting, City Council authorized Interim City Manager Rolanda Russell to negotiate a redevelopment agreement with Carroll Properties. Council’s action on May 4 gives the Interim City Manager the added authority to sign the agreement, and to do so with PARC, so there is no need for it to come back before Council.
The change of parties from Carroll Properties to PARC did not appear to sway the aldermen who voted to approve the deal. Nor did it appear to concern two members of the City’s legal department, both of whom deferred to David Reifman, Carroll Properties’ attorney, to answer questions concerning the change in parties.
The vote to approve the deal was 5-4, the same as last week, with Aldermen Cheryl Wollin, 1st Ward; Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward; Delores Holmes, 5th Ward; Elizabeth Tisdahl, 7th Ward; and Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, voting in favor of the resolution. Aldermen Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward; Steve Bernstein, 4th Ward; Edmund Moran, 6th Ward, and Anjana Hansen, 9th Ward, repeated their “no” votes.
The terms of the deal are the same as before, except for the change in parties: The City will rebate to the developer 50 percent of the City’s portion of the incremental property taxes on the parcel for up to 20 years up to a maximum of $1.9 million. In addition, the City will rebate to the developer the full 1 percent home-rule sales tax on all sales except liquor for 15 years, up to a maximum of $2.145 million.
Ald. Moran said, “This resolution is [for] a $4.1 million tax surrender from the City of Evanston to someone [PARC]. And that someone is someone I’ve never heard of.” The name PARC first appeared as a part of the resolution provided to Council for the May 4 special meeting.
Mr. Reifman, Carroll Properties’ attorney, said PARC is a limited liability company formed by Carroll Properties for the purpose of owning the 1890 Maple property. “Carroll Properties is the contract purchaser. I am not concerned from a legal perspective,” said Mr. Reifman.
The entire process, from its inception before the Economic Development Committee until its completion last night took less than two weeks – just 13 days.
“Although no one spoke at citizen comment, one resident told the RoundTable he had “never seen Council so eager to give away money. They just rammed it through.”
Robert Rychlicki of Kane, McKenna, the City’s long-time financial consultant, said at the April 27 Council meeting that he believes the City is protected because the package is “performance-based.” That is, the developer will share only in the tax revenues generated by the development itself.