Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl gets help cutting the ribbon for the new Fiat dealership from Autobarn owner Richard Fisher with Alderman Melissa Wynne on the Mayor’s left. RoundTable photo

Autobarn of Evanston celebrated the opening of its Fiat dealership at 1024 Chicago Ave., the latest addition to its automobile franchises.

In addition to its car dealerships –Mazda, Nissan, Volkswagen and now Fiat – Autobarn will use the vacant lot on Howard Street behind the Target/Jewel shopping plaza to store many of its cars. Autobarn will receive about $4 million in funds from the tax-increment financing (TIF) district there. The TIF was set to expire in 2015, but City Council extended it to help Autobarn set up the facility on the property there, which had been vacant for several years.

Third Ward Alderman Melissa Wynne said she is “glad to have the expanded business.”

 “Evanston will be the best place for this franchise,” said owner Richard Fisher. “Most of us who work here have been coming here since 1992, and we wouldn’t want to go anywhere else,” he added.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said, “I love it when businesses open in Evanston. I love it when businesses celebrate their anniversaries; I love it most when businesses in Evanston expand.”

Autobarn works with Evanston Township High School students. The company is also the major sponsor of the annual Young Evanston Artists Festival, held in May along Dempster Street and Chicago Avenue.