Evanston could suffer financial blow from Shure’s departure

Matt Lopas

Local officials fear Evanston will lose a valuable part of the community when Shure Inc. moves out.

The company announced last week it will move from its current location to nearby Niles, citing a lack of space. The new location will be nearly twice the size of Shure’s current space.

Shure’s departure marks the loss of Evanston’s largest for-profit employer. The company employs about 500 people at its 222 Hartrey Ave. location and pays nearly $45,000 in property taxes to the city of Evanston, according to documents from the Cook County Clerk.

The new property, 5800 West Touhy Ave., was previously filled by the business promotional firm HALO Industries, Inc. HALO filed in July for bankruptcy protection.

Though Shure does not constitute a significant portion of Evanston’s property tax base of more than $25 million, City Manager Roger Crum said Evanston officials do not like losing any revenue.

Ald. Edmund Moran (6th) said he is concerned the city could permanently lose tax revenue from the site because the property assessment will decrease if the property remains vacant and is split into smaller parcels of land to accommodate small businesses.

“Everyone loses because as a community we lose the business,” Moran said.

Aside from the city’s portion of the property taxes, the two school districts receive a portion of the property taxes from the Shure office. District 202, which comprises Evanston Township High School, receives about $65,000, and Evanston/Skokie School District 65 gets more than $92,000, according to documents from the Cook County Clerk’s office.

For others, the concern lies in the departure of the 500 workers from Evanston. Though jobs likely will be retained because of the short move to Niles, the city will lose the daytime revenue produced by the employees.

“I think it’s terrible,” said Ald. Arthur Newman (1st). “Employees spend money and the city gets tax money from this.”

Small businesses in the area will be affected by the loss of consumers, said Troy Thiel, director of the Evanston Small Business Association.

“Successful cities have a diverse economic base,” Thiel said. “Big businesses and small businesses coexist and depend on each other.”

Residents rely on businesses not only to offer necessary products and services but to share the burden of paying for city government.

“People may not be employed by Shure,” Moran said. “But they are affected by Shure being here.”

And according to Crum, a shortage of larger properties in Evanston could keep large employers from moving in to fill the gap.

“The reality is you’re not going to see companies the size of Shure find places in Evanston,” he said.