Evanston releases economic report for third quarter of 2014

Stephanie Kelly, Assistant City Editor

The city released an economic report Friday that presented Evanston’s progress in the third quarter of 2014. The report showed a consistent decrease in the unemployment rate since July.

In the report, the city’s Economic Development Division detailed changes in Evanston during the months of July, August and September, and development on Northwestern’s campus due to construction. The report also described business openings and Evanston’s commercial construction.

About $207 million was spent on commercial construction at NU, with the recent finish of the Visitor Center, which opened Oct. 10, and the near completion of a new Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music and School of Communication building, according to the report.

Construction on the new Kellogg School of Management building is ongoing, with an expected opening in 2016, the report said.

NU’s commercial construction spending has increased from the total from April through June, which reached $12.3 million, according to the second quarter report.

In general, the Building and Inspection Services Division spent $15.9 million in commercial construction in the city this quarter, the report said.

Evanston Hospital, 2650 Ridge Ave., and Hyatt House, 1515 Chicago Ave., were the top costing projects. Work will begin soon at 1968 Dempster St. to convert the existing space into a larger grocery store at the Evanston Plaza shopping center.

Evanston’s unemployment rate continues to remain under the national and state rates. In September, the city’s unemployment rate of 5.1 percent was the lowest in all of 2014. It was also less than the national and state rates, which were at 5.7 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively.

The mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program placed 504 youth in summer jobs with 14 employers in Evanston. NextChapter, an organization that supports developing businesses that are home-based, independent, or run by solo entrepreneurs through workshops and mentorships, had 238 participants this quarter and offered 26 classes, the report said.

This quarter, 12 new businesses opened, including El Pueblito Mexican Grill, 1805 Howard St., Campus Gear, 1720 Sherman Ave., and YoFresh Yogurt Cafe, 635 Chicago Ave. A drive-thru Starbacks also opened at 1901 Dempster St., the report said.

The next economic report will highlight the city’s progress during the last three months of the year.

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