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Old December 24th, 2005, 01:28 AM   #1
spyguy
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Evanston Development News

Much thanks to Steely Dan for his compilation and any others who helped find this information. Please add whatever other projects you know of that are significant.

Recently Completed
Optima Views - 2003
265 ft, 27 floors

Church Street Station - 2002
179 ft, 17 floors

Optima Horizons - 2005
162 ft, 16 floors

Optima Towers - 2002
136 ft, 13 floors

Under Construction:
Sherman Plaza
256 ft, 25 floors


413-421 Howard Apartments
??? ft, 17 floors


Sienna
??? ft, 8 floors


900 Chicago Avenue
??? ft, 7 floors


Grand Bend at Green Bay
??? ft, 6 floors


Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center
??? ft, 4 floors


Proposals:
Fountain Square
??? ft, 38 floors


605 Davis
210 ft, 20 floors

Optima Promenade
185 ft, 18 floors


Carroll Place
??? ft, 20 floors


Winthrop Club
155 ft, 15 floors


Mather Lifeways
??? ft, 10 floors


510 Sheridan
??? ft, 7 floors


The Kedzie 525
??? ft, 6 floors


1800 Ridge
??? ft, 6 floors


1700-1722 Central St.
??? ft, 5 floors


Dobson-Ridge
??? ft, 5 floors


Harrison Street Residences
??? ft, 3 floors


1911-1917 Church St.
??? ft, 3 floors

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Old December 24th, 2005, 02:44 AM   #2
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Thanks, SpyGuy...impressive group of plans. Do you (or does anybody) know the status of the proposed buildings? I didn't realize that Optima wanted to build a third building in downtown Evanston.
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Old December 24th, 2005, 03:53 AM   #3
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I'm not sure about all the proposals. The Grand Bend still has to release floor plans and such. Carroll Place has a good height, but the design is horrific in my opinion. It's the kind of thing a Third World Country would build. The emphasis being on would, because even they design much better looking towers nowadays

Yes, they are planning a third one which should be different from the other two.

From the Evanston Roundtable:
Another Optima Hi-rise for Downtown - This One on Chicago Avenue


Optima Inc. unveiled preliminary plans for its fourth high-rise condominium project in Evanston before a City committee last week.

The proposal calls for an 18-story building with 150 condominium units, commercial space at street level and two floors of underground parking.

It would be built on the site of the current Heil & Heil insurance and real estate offices at 1515 Chicago Ave.

Optima Senior Vice President Tod Desmarais said the Optima Esplanade will be "a jewel, a very high end luxury development."

Prices will range from $500,000 for an 800-square-foot, one-bedroom unit to $2 million for a 2,500-square-foot, three-bedroom condo.

The units will average about 1,600 square feet, Mr. Desmarais said, about 50 percent larger than at the Optima Horizons development on Elgin Road, where unit prices range from $200,000 to $1.5 million.

Optima's other recent developments in Evanston are Optima Towers at Davis Street and Sherman Avenue and Optima Views on Maple Avenue north of Church Street.

The plan calls for a steel frame building with 30-foot clear spans, sheathed with granite and glass. "It's quite different from anything we've done before in Evanston," Mr. Desmarais said, "It will have a lot of variety and texture to break up the mass of the building."

A scale model of the project presented to the committee showed a structure with several different
modules rising to different heights. The west-facing building would be shortest where it adjoins
neighboring low-rise structures and would contain an interior courtyard to capture afternoon sunlight.

The underground parking garage would contain 350 spaces. Even one bedroom condos would get two parking spaces. The garage, Mr. Desmarais said, would have about 50 more spaces than required by city ordinance.

Under current zoning the developer could build to a 145 foot height and have 110 units. With the planned development status the developer seeks the project could qualify for the additional 40 feet of height and 40 more units proposed.

Community Development Director James Wolinski said he was glad to see the developer using a different design model for the new structure. "I appreciate the buildings that you've done already," Mr. Wolinski said, "but one more along the same lines might be too many."

Assistant Community Development Director Carolyn Brzezinski said, "It's a very handsome design as a concept." But she said she was concerned how it would relate to neighboring structures and said she would like to see a model showing that relationship.

She also encouraged the developer to build energy efficiency features into the design, even though the state has not yet implemented statutes that would require them.
Assistant Planning Director Dennis Marino said the two levels of underground parking is a very good idea -- compared to other recent developments that have placed parking in awkward-looking, above ground garages.

The Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee took no action on the proposal, which faces a lengthy approval process, including review by the City Council.
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Old December 24th, 2005, 05:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyguy999
Prices will range from $500,000 for an 800-square-foot, one-bedroom unit
They've gotta be kidding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old December 24th, 2005, 06:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edsg25
Thanks, SpyGuy...impressive group of plans. Do you (or does anybody) know the status of the proposed buildings? I didn't realize that Optima wanted to build a third building in downtown Evanston.
the optima esplanade would actually be the 4th optima project in downtown evanston, the first three being: optima towers, optima views, and optima horizons.
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Old December 24th, 2005, 08:11 PM   #6
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i believe that the grand bend at green bay is already under construction. there is steel going up over there.

in other evanston news, Sienna, a 237 unit condo development housed within four 8-story buildings arranged around a central courtyard, is under construction on the western fringes of downtown at clark and ridge.

here's a rendering:

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Old December 25th, 2005, 12:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan
the optima esplanade would actually be the 4th optima project in downtown evanston, the first three being: optima towers, optima views, and optima horizons.
Bless my Lulu's....I forgot about optima towers!
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Old December 26th, 2005, 08:50 PM   #8
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here's another evanston project.

Mather Lifeways (a senior living company) is planning to expand their evanston operation by tearing down their two existing lowrise buildings and erecting two 10-story buildings on the north and south sides of davis at hinman, on the eastern edge of downtown. the two buildings will be connected by a tunnel beneath davis, and the total complex will encompass 310 units at 3 different levels of senior care. after a great deal of acrimony from the neighborhood, the proposal has now been approved by the evanston plan commission.

here's a rendering:

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Old January 27th, 2006, 02:01 AM   #9
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from the latest issue of the Evanston Roundatable


17-Story Apartment Building on Howard to Break Ground This Spring
By Bill Smith

The developer of a proposed 17-story rental apartment building on Howard Street just west of the El station plans to break ground on the much-delayed project in March or April.

But Bill Patrun of Bristol Chicago Development LLC told Eighth Ward residents at a neighborhood meeting Jan. 12 that "a couple little pieces of the puzzle still need to fall together" to meet that schedule. He said his firm has requested caisson and foundation permits from the City and is developing construction and working drawings.

The project at 413-421 Howard St., which was approved by the City Council on March 8, 2004, calls for 221 apartments on the upper 13 floors with 245 parking spaces on the lower four floors.

Mr. Patrun said the developers will be seeking monthly rents of $1.80 to $2 per square foot, so an 800-square-foot one-bedroom apartment might rent for $1,450 per month.

"We're going to be competitive with downtown Evanston, where rents are a little higher," Mr. Patrun said, adding that the tax increment financing (TIF) district the project is part of makes the lower rents possible.

"Our market will be single professionals, empty nesters and 'double income, no kids' couples," he said. Unit sizes will range from 500-square-foot studios to 1,200-square-foot two-bedroom apartments.

The project site backs up on the CTA rail yard, and is so narrow that the City had to vacate an alley between the property and the rail yard to make the design viable.

"All units will have unobstructed views of the lake," Mr. Patrun said.

Mr. Patrun said it is expected to take 18 months to complete construction of the building, with occupancy sometime toward the end of 2007.

The new development is expected to generate $700,000 a year in additional property tax revenue.

Last year the City completed a project to extend a 16-inch water main down Chicago Avenue from South Boulevard to provide a sufficient water supply to the new building.

Public Works Director David Jennings said the City still needs to "turn the corner" at Howard Street and extend the line to the building site.

For the more than two decades remaining in the life of the TIF district, that money will be used to spur further development in the Howard Street area, Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said.

Ald. Rainey said the City now contributes $600,000 a year to Evanston's school districts from TIF funds, and that amount will increase by $200,000 when the Bristol project is completed.
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Old February 13th, 2006, 06:36 PM   #10
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from the latest issue of the Evanston Roundtable:


Back to the Drawing Board for Mather Plans
By Bill Smith
Evanston aldermen have asked Mather LifeWays to revise its retirement home construction plans to provide more setback from Davis Street.

Several aldermen indicated they would be willing to trade some increase in building height for structures that covered a smaller portion of the lots.

The aldermen, at a special Planning and Development Committee meeting Jan. 31, voted to introduce the Mather project for City Council consideration but refer it back to the committee for additional review at its Feb. 13 meeting.

Mather wants to replace its Georgian and Mather Gardens buildings at the intersection of Davis Street and Hinman Avenue with two new 10-story structures with a total of 309 living units.

The City's development consultant, Martin Stern of U.S. Equities, told the committee that after reviewing financial data offered by Mather, he is convinced that the project could not be financed if the number of units was reduced enough to be able to slice a floor from the proposed height of the buildings.

Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, suggested increasing the setback of both new buildings from Davis Street by reducing their separation from neighboring buildings to the north and south. "I believe we need more setback to avoid creating a canyon effect," Ald. Jean-Baptiste said.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said the setbacks from the neighboring buildings, the Waterford and the Homestead, were the result of a lot of negotiations with the neighbors. "I don't feel comfortable changing that," Ald. Rainey said, but she said she could not support the project unless the lot coverage were reduced.

Alderman Steven Bernstein, 4th Ward, said he shared the concerns. "I've always argued in favor of height rather than breadth," he said, with regard to new buildings.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said she would like to support the project, but that she has serious concerns about the bulk and setbacks. "We don't have any place in the city where we have two 10-story buildings this close to the sidewalk," she said.

Mather's architect distributed rough sketches showing concepts for slight lot coverage reductions and said he could also trim coverage further by adding a partial 11th floor to the north building.

Ald. Rainey also sought assurances from Mather that the public would have some access to the private gardens the Mather owns to the east of each building and that Evanston residents would get priority access to subsidies the Mather plans to offer some of its residents.






Another New Look for 1881 Oak?
By Bill Smith

Carroll Place Developer Robert King offered to rework his plans after several Plan Commission members sharply criticized his proposed 19-story, 170-unit condo project at 1881 Oak Ave. on Jan. 30.

In turn, the commissioners scheduled a special meeting to consider zoning for the site and other parcels along Emerson Street at the north end of the City's Research Park.

"The zoning for this area has clearly become irrelevant," Commissioner Alice Rebechini said.

The area was developed over the past 20 years, mostly with low-rise office buildings that now have extremely high vacancy rates.

"It's dead as originally planned," Commissioner Lawrence Widmayer said. "The building to the east (at 1890 Maple Ave.) is empty. The building to the west (at 1880 Oak Ave.) is 40 or 50 percent vacant."

The Carroll Place parcel has been a vacant lot for two decades. Developers have announced plans to replace the office building at 1890 Maple with a 10-story Residence Inn hotel.

"These problems are in part the result of restrictions placed on tax appeals in the development process. As a result, these buildings carry higher property-tax rates per square foot than any other office buildings in town," Mr. Widmayer said.

"What we're looking at," he added, "is developing a mini-plan about what framework we want to have for this immediate area.

"I don't think we're saying that the concepts of residential condominiums or a hotel are wrong. What we're struggling with is the bulk and height and that this is on the edge of the downtown area rather than the middle of it."

The commission scheduled the special meeting for Feb. 7, after the RoundTable went to press.

Mr. King had argued that his project was comparable to high-rises already constructed elsewhere downtown – some of which are as much as 28 stories tall.

Commission Chairman Albert Hunter said, "What I'm concerned about here is that immediately to the north is a residential area of single-family homes. If you turn your gaze northward, this project is very much out of context. If you turn south, then it is in context.

"Over the past several years this commission has been very sensitive to the notion of transitions – making a transition to lower height and lower density," Mr. Hunter added.

In testimony before the commission, James Torvik of 212 Dempster St., speaking for the architecture group Design Evanston, called the project "too dense and too tall for the site."

"The building is massive, especially at the base," Mr. Torvik said. "The pedestrian experience will be very unpleasant."

Commissioner Douglas Doetsch said, "I think it's clear this is not what we want the area to look like. It looks like something transplanted from Miami. It's completely out of character directly across the street from a neighborhood of two-story homes."

Commissioner James Woods said the building "lacks architecural quality and significant public spaces. It lacks elegance and is out of character with the area."
The Commission is scheduled to consider Mr. King's revised plans for Carroll Place when it meets at 7 p.m., March 8.
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Old February 15th, 2006, 03:53 AM   #11
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Thank god about Carroll Place. It is one of the worst proposals I have ever seen. Hopefully a redesign won't significantly downsize it.
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Old March 16th, 2006, 12:01 AM   #12
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Dan in Chicago posted this article on SSP:

http://www.evanstonroundtable.com/ro.../business.html

Where's Downtown?

By Bill Smith

The Evanston Plan Commission's downtown plan committee will try to answer that question when it meets on Wednesday morning, March 15.

The answer will matter as the commission moves on to develop new rules about what should be built in the most intensely developed section of the city.

For a downtown study two years ago, City planners decided downtown is the area bounded by Emerson Street, Elgin Road and Clark Street on the north, Hinman Avenue on the east, Lake Street on the south and Asbury Avenue on the west.

But David Galloway, a plan commission associate member, says when members of Design Evanston did a streetscape survey recently, they concluded that some areas inside, but near the edges of that boundary do not look like downtown, while other areas that are outside the line do seem to qualify for inclusion.

Diane Williams, executive director of EvMark, the marketing association for downtown, said the boundaries will also be important in considering renewal soon of the special downtown tax district that funds EvMark's programs.

Dennis Marino, assistant director of the City's planning division, told the committee at its March 1 meeting that while the City's comprehensive plans for several decades have set the west boundary at Asbury, people have frequently argued that the line should be drawn a block east, at Ridge Avenue.

Community Development Director James Wolinski said the committee should consider what parts of downtown should stay the same, "because right now it appears that all of downtown is up for grabs, as developers look at it."

"Davis Street west of the tracks is going to be under assault," Mr. Wolinski said, "although I probably shouldn't call it that."

"We need redevelopment, but need to decide how much is enough. Perhaps we should have some landmark districts downtown that should remain as is," he added.

"I'm not sure some of those ‘landmarks' are going to stand up much longer," Plan Commissioner Larry Widmayer said. "Are we talking about leaving them untouched – or limiting the redevelopment height?"

Mr. Galloway suggested involving the Preservation Commission in an evaluation of downtown buildings. "Regardless of whether we end up making it a landmark, they can rate the architectural integrity of a building."

Ms. Williams said some buildings downtown, including the Hahn Building, which faces both Sherman and Orrington Avenues south of Church Street, already are landmarks.

Mr. Galloway said Davis Street west of the tracks now provides a "very beneficial, decompressive quality as you move toward the serene residential area along Ridge and Asbury."

Rental rates for retail space on that part of Davis also are lower, Mr. Widmayer said, falling from $40 per square foot in the center of downtown to $20 per square foot on that part of Davis.

"That's very significant in attracting small local retailers," he added.
Mr. Wolinski said it now seems "developers are driving the development, as opposed to the City saying what it wants to see."

He said the Fountain Square block may be the next area in play, and that developer Tom Roszak "is coming to see me about that block, and I'm sure he has plans for a lot of density there."

Committee members also said they hope to figure out ways to make it more appealing to walk around downtown by providing more public art and improving lighting, street furniture, landscaping and signage.
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Old March 16th, 2006, 12:05 AM   #13
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And the much more interesting article

http://www.evanstonroundtable.com/ro.../business.html

Downtown, Ever Upward

By Bill Smith

The proposed Optima Promenade planned development at 1515 Chicago Ave. drew strong support at a Plan Commission hearing Wednesday from the Chamber of Commerce and Design Evanston.

But neighbors opposed to the 18-story project objected that it would eliminate views from older condominium buildings nearby and voiced fears it would depress prices for their units.

James Torvik of Design Evanston said the Optima proposal is "an excellent example of a fine downtown building" that likely will be recognized "far beyond our City's border." It is, he said, "a unique and dynamic addition to Chicago Avenue.

"The building massing is highly sophisticated, carefully composed, interesting, even alluring," said Mr. Torvik, an architect who lives at 212 Dempster St.

He said Design Evanston, an ad hoc group of architects and other design professionals, was asked to review the Optima project by the City and the developer.

Jonathan Perman, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, said the mixed-use retail, office and residential condo project's height and floor area ratio fully comply with the zoning for the site.

He said the development would attract more diners and shoppers to downtown.

"You'll hear critics say that Evanston has grown too much," Mr. Perman said, "but we have 4,000-5,000 fewer people than we did at our population peak. This City can handle another 175 units."

He said Evanston's schools need more funds, and the Promenade project would generate $1.6 million a year in new school tax revenue.

"Most cities have to lure great architects with incentives and commissions," Mr. Perman said. "We've had David Hovey generating award-winning designs here in Evanston" for the past 20 years.

But neighbor Chris Westerberg of 525 Grove St. said many of the units in her building only have windows facing north, and those living below the fifth floor would only have views of the new building's parking garage.

She also objected to the placement of the tallest portion of the Promenade at the south end of the site, near her building.

Optima representatives said the decision had been made to lessen the height at the north and west sides of the site, which creates more setback from Davis Street and Chicago Avenue. They also said that because of the orientation of the sun, the new building would not cast shadows on its neighbor to the south.

David Hornthal, who lives in the Optima Towers development a block west at 1580 Sherman Ave., said a dozen units in that building have a view of Lake Michigan that would be blocked by the new structure. He voiced fears those units would lose value.

Gene Thiele, president of the condominium board at 1500 Hinman Ave., said drivers emerging from the alley behind his building often honk their horns. He said he worried increased traffic in the alley from the new development would lead to more horn-honking, especially late at night.

The developer's traffic consultant responded that even at rush-hour peaks, he anticipates no more than 25 additional vehicles per hour exiting the alley onto Grove.

The four-hour hearing ended with neighbors still posing questions to the development team. The neighbors will get a chance to present their full arguments against the project when the hearing continues at 7 p.m. on April 5.



Developers had to revise their plans twice for this high-rise at 1567 Maple Ave.



Optima's David Hovey has proposed yet another high rise, this one at 1515 Chicago Ave.



Mather LifeWays, Davis Street at Hinman Avenue, proposes two 10-story buildings.



The developer of 1881 Oak Ave. has gone back to the drawing board but hopes for a high-rise condominium development.
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Old March 16th, 2006, 02:04 PM   #14
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because of its size, Evanston may be the best place to watch in Chicagoland to see the effects of extensive high rise development and the effect it has on a community.

Chicago, of course, is a little too big to serve as such an example.

Evanston has always prided itself as a transiton between city and suburb and often has been able to deliver the the best factors of each environment.

Personally, as a person who lived in Evanston for much of his early life, I find the downtwon development and its quality and density to be exciting. But I don't live in Evanston now. I'm not going to be affected by the issue of density downtown...or the spin off in neighborhoods (some of which, like the Chicago Ave. corridor, have elements in common with the city's downtown).

Do we have any assurance that Evanston can retain enough of its beautiful scale and sense-of-place in a growth spurt that will (1) increase downtown and (2) have a spill over effect on neighborhoods throughout Evanston?

With its history, the beautiful NU campus, the gorgeous lakefront, Evanston is a special place. Are we tampering too much with it today and helping to kill the goose that laid the golden egg?
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Old March 16th, 2006, 05:25 PM   #15
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^ if you remember how dead downtown evanston was in the 1980's (and i do), this rebirth can only be seen as a remarkable turnaround of a place many thought would eventually just all evaporate out to old orchard.

the fact that downtown evanston was able to survive its era of doom and gloom is wonderful because with all the new consturction, this place of traditional urbansim is becoming vital again. anyone who has nostalgia for the downtown evanston of old has a very short memory.
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Old March 25th, 2006, 06:01 AM   #16
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http://www.evanstonroundtable.com/rt...ws.html#mather

One of the new buildings will be 11 stories tall, the other 10 stories. The plan preserves two existing private parks on the portion of the Mather property closest to Judson Avenue. Mather's existing buildings are both eight stories tall, and some neighbors had fought the project over its additional height and bulk, while Mather residents and other neighbors supported the plan for new, more spacious and better-designed retirement facilities in the community.

Alderman Cheryl Wollin, whose 1st Ward contains the Mather property, was in Washington, D.C. attending a National League of Cities meeting. The unanimous vote was made possible when she was patched into the council meeting by speaker phone to cast her vote.

The redevelopment project will put the Mather property on the city's tax rolls, and Mather has agreed to provide $30 million in financial assistance over 10 years, giving priority to Evanston residents and persons with family in Evanston. In addition the city will collect an annual easement fee of $125,000 for a tunnel under Davis Street connecting the two buildings which will be added to the Mayor's affordable housing fund.

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Old March 25th, 2006, 06:10 AM   #17
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I love downtown Evanston All those bright are somthing we could use in Chicago.
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Old March 25th, 2006, 09:36 AM   #18
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for those who know Evanston well (and a lot of you seem to), I'm curious as to the effect that redevelopment in downtown area will have on the rest of the city. In other words: where is Evanston going as a whole as opposed to creating just a vibrant downtown.

The degree of development in the downtown area is rather mind boggling for a city of 70,000, particularly in light of the degree of high rise construction. Noteworthy residential construction has also taken place along Chicago Avenue, going south from downtown to Howard Street and taking advantage of access to the CTA and Metra lines that parallel each other.

Add to this the areas of Evanston that have always been desirable: the entire pricey lakefront from Juneway to Wilmette, neighborhoods in north and northwest Evanston that are solidly North Shore (a virtual Wilmette), streets like Ridge that offer incredible character and variety of housing, you find you have a very desirable comunity.

The question that comes to mind, though, is what effect this revitalization, this taking advantage of Chicago's close by location, this ability to create a real city in suburbia, the draw of a North Shore location and promient college town will have on parts of Evanston that are not as expensive....and what effect, if any, will this have on Evanston's diversity?

What are the implications in Skokie-like areas, for example, along Dodge...from Howard to about Main or Dempster? Lots of very small homes that may be worth less than the expensive land on which they lie. Isn't this stretch as valuable as many far north side Chicago neighborhoods that are experiencing revival?

Most importantly, what effect will all the new developments have on Evanston's old and long entrenched African American community? Will we have a situation where income will influence land values and squeeze people out of the community, hurting the city's vaunted diversity? What effect will a growing downtown have on areas that seem to resist any real change....i.e. the dismal intersection of Dodge and Church that should be a showcase for Evanston as it is the main intersecton of ETHS.

How about the more Rogers Park like apartment blocks in south Evanston...will two and three flats be replaced with more expensive housing? In general, what direction do you see Evanston going as a whole based on the current happenings downtown and along Chicago Avenue...as well as the city's ability to cash in on proximity to a Chicago that gets more and more desirable by the day?
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Old March 31st, 2006, 11:04 PM   #19
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The Kedzie 525
5-6 floors?
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Old April 7th, 2006, 06:05 AM   #20
Steely Dan
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another infill project in evanston, this time up north on central street. for reference this prejct is downt the block from a metra stop and about 4 blocks from an L stop, so it's a good TOD project.

from the evanston roundtable:

Development at Central Street Theaters Adds Height and Density but Promises Restoration of Landmark House
By Mary Helt Gavin

Nearly 100 Seventh Ward residents packed the community room at the Ecology Center to learn about the proposed development project that would turn the dilapidated former movie theaters on Central Street into a five-story condominium building.

The developers – Evanston Central 1 LLC, composed of J. Hawk DDI and Dodge Capital – propose retail on the first floor of the 55-unit condominium building, with 99 covered parking spaces.

They would restore the one-story landmark house on the property and create an old-fashioned "grandmother's garden" for the building, which would ultimately be used for retail purposes.

The condos

John Croker, a principal of J. Hawk, said the City's zoning permits a 45-foot- high, 110-unit building. The group may seek variances, however, that would permit them to build up to 57 feet and to reduce the number of required parking spaces from 106 to 99.

In a planned development, he said, the City grants concessions in exchange for a public benefit. In this case, he said, the public benefits are "the redevelopment of a dilapidated building, the complete restoration of a landmark property, including workshops on restoration that will be free and open to the public."

Mr. Croker said the developers had not decided upon final design details or cost for the building, but they are considering brick masonry with concrete details such as balustrades and a mansard roof that would "contain" the top story.

The building would be recessed in the rear, and the top of the covered parking area would be common space, and perhaps a rooftop garden. The present setback from Central Street would be maintained, but in the rear, along the alley, the setback would be 18 inches greater, to allow for shallow planting.

He also said no price points have been set for the one-, two- and two-plus-bedroom units, but the cost would probably be about $325 per square foot. The smallest units, which would be just over 1,000 square feet, then, could be priced at about $325,000. About half the units would be two-bedroom, with the other half equally divided between the larger and the smaller units, Mr. Croker added.

Una Malkinson questioned the high prices of these and other condominiums in Evanston. "You should know that a more substantial benefit would be for you to make 10 percent of the units affordable for police officers and teachers. ... Evanston insists on social as well as financial benefits for the community. You have a significant project architecturally, but socially it lacks character," she said.

"There is a diversity of opinion about what constitutes a public benefit," Mr. Croker responded. "Many will believe that restoration of this landmark building is a public benefit."



The landmark building

Architect Polly Hawkins said the group had applied to the Preservation Commission for a certificate to restore the building.

"We would remove the later addition and restore the building to its original look as a working-class home," she said, adding, "Its originality and its humbleness make it unique." She said the restoration group would offer workshops on restoration to the public, free of charge, as the work developed.

Landscape architect Ryan Kettlekamp said the garden would have roses, hollyhocks, peonies and irises.

"When we're through with the garden, it will look familiar – it will look like Grandma's garden."

He said there will be one long excavation pit for all the trees in the development along Central Street, with covers above for separation – so that the trees will have more room to grow than if there were individual pits.


Concerns about Central Street

Many members of the audience appeared both curious and concerned about changes to the business district of Central Street, which abuts residential areas along most of the alleys.

A couple of residents asked about plans for the building kitty-corner from the theaters, which the same developers recently purchased.

"We're still in the planning stages," said Bob Horne of Capital Development, who was the project manager for the movie theater complex, Church Street Plaza. "We've just done the soil testing, because there was a rug-cleaning store there, and before that, a gas station," he added.

Junad Rizki pointed out that the zoning there permits buildings up to 45 feet high and that the area west of Green Bay Road could eventually see four- and five-story buildings.

Alderman Elizabeth Tisdahl, who convened the Seventh Ward meeting, said she had requested the Plan Commission to "down-zone," or lower the height requirements, for that area but had been turned down. "I am going to ask the Plan Commission to revisit that," she said.
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