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As previously reported in GlobeSt.com, two projects have been announcedthis summer for downtown Evanston, a suburb just north of Chicago. Either of the projects would expand the Evanston¡Çs tax base, both property and sales taxes. However, since both of the projects have been in the planning stages for some time, there are moredetails to be ironed out – such as the fact that the developments overlap.

Sherman Plaza, a $100 million, 900,000-sf project, received approval fromthe Evanston City Council for a $2.5 million TIF grant. Plans for theproject include a three-story, 120,000 sf Sears department store, a 200-unitresidential retirement community, 135,000 sf of special retail space and a1,400-car garage. The project is supposed to occupy the greater part of theblock bounded by Davis, Church, Benson and Sherman streets.

Buildings occupied by Citibank, an Osco and several smaller retailers wouldhave to be torn down to pave the way for the new development. Target datefor opening is fall 2001.That day might not occur if Stuart Handler, owner of Stuart Handler RealEstate Co., has his way. Hander is developer of Scholars Corner, an 11-storyrental apartment building with 62 residential units and a new Osco Drugstore on the ground floor. Plans also include a 91-space enclosed parkinggarage for tenants, a private fitness center and a rooftop sundeck. His sitealso happens to be the last piece of the puzzle for the Sherman Plaza project. Though the Cityof Evanston gave its approval for the $25 million Scholars Corner, it was reported that city manager Roger Crum stated “That doesn¡Çt mean itwould be the city¡Çs preferred use for that site.”

A spokesperson for Sherman Plaza Venture, a joint venture of the Thomas J.Klutznick Co. and The Prime Group Inc., says that planning andnegotiations are ongoing for the site. A spokesperson for Stuart Handlertold GlobeSt.com that Handler has no intention of backing down, and that hispreparations for this project have been going on much longer.The Sherman Plaza project could bring in more tax revenue to Evanston andthe city could hand Handler a condemnation order. However, if a majorretailer like Sears backed out of Sherman Plaza, that project could bepostponed indefinitely.GlobeSt.com will continue to keep readers apprised of the situation.

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