Evanston autodealer’s plan to sell Fiats, Alfa Romeos on fast track

Autobarn owner Richard Fisher's plan to open Fiat and Alfa Romeo dealerships in Evanston is receiving city backing. | Bob Seidenberg/Sun-Times Media
Autobarn owner Richard Fisher's plan to open Fiat and Alfa Romeo dealerships in Evanston is receiving city backing. | Bob Seidenberg/Sun-Times Media

Evanston officials moved forward Monday on a tax sharing agreement intended to smooth the road for a car dealer to expand his dealership by selling Fiats and Alfa Romeo vehicles.

Without discussion, aldermen approved the sales tax sharing agreement with Autobarn owner Richard Fisher, which would allow Fisher’s dealership to retain 80 percent of the new tax revenue generated on sales of the automobiles over a 48-month period.

Under the 80-20 split, for instance, Autobarn is projecting gross sales of $15,855,000 on Fiats/Alfa Romeos for 2015. Of that total, the dealership would collect $127,200 compared to $31,800 going to the city.

The agreement assumes annual growth at 5 percent.

The reimbursement is intended to offset Autobarn’s costs associated with the new dealership, which are estimated at $2 million.

They include a $450,000 build out of 1034 Chicago Ave., which Autobarn intends to make the Fiat/Alfa Romeo showroom, and $400,000 toward the cost of the franchise purchase.

Officials estimate the new venture will generate 17 new jobs for Evanston. The agreement also places a limit on Autobarn’s ability to collect sales tax if projected costs turn out less than the $2 million.

Aldermen previously backed a resolution to execute a 50/50 sales tax sharing agreement with Fisher, to offset costs in the build out of a warehouse and storage space at the former Shure Brothers building, behind the Target Store at 222 Hartrey Ave.

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