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Old March 1st, 2007, 01:08 PM   #141
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Ian, the site is about 1.5 to 2 blocks away from the Metra/CTA complex.
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Old March 1st, 2007, 04:35 PM   #142
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Hmm... Evanston essentially vetoed a quite respectable, very slim 38-story tower and now they're going to get a proposal for a 50-story tower on the same site?
you have it wrong. roszak's 38 story fountain square proposal was never vetoed by the city, roszak simply failed to aquire the land to build the tower.






Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
There's no way a 50-story tower has been zoned for at that site, so this will definitely require a variance, and I can't see Evanston's NIMBYs granting one to this tower in this location.
the proposed location is in the dead center of downtown evanston, so the usual evanston nimby complaint of shadow casting might not be terribly relevant with this project, but you are right, many people in small-thinking evanston will raise holy-hell about this. the good news is that the city government in evanston has a pretty decent track record of ignoring the nimbys when it comes to downtown development, with some notable exceptions of course.
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Old March 1st, 2007, 08:33 PM   #143
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edsg25 View Post
But both Metra and CTA are desinged to get people in and out of downtown and have little bearing on car usage within Evanston and its connection to other suburbs and the far north side neighborhoods that surround it.
when i lived in rogers park, i took the L up to my job in evanston everyday, along with hundreds of other people. with the L, metra, and CTA/pace bus routes, car ownership is not a neccessity in many evanston neighborhoods. it's only a neccessity for people who can't think outside of the car-first box.






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Originally Posted by edsg25 View Post
Let's keep something in mind about Evanston; unlike its most similiar community, Oak Park, there is no expressway access directly found in Evanston. The pressure that overdevelopment of both commerical and residential high rises on the DT area does not have, like in Oak Park, the Eisenhower to take the load. The Touhy, Dempster, Old Orchard and Lake St/Skokie Blvd. connections to the Edens are removed enough from Evanston to aid the city.

In other words, personally I believe there are limits on how much density the city can comfortably hold.
of course there is a comfort limit on density in evanston, but the city is nowhere remotely even near reaching that point yet, and a 50 story tower in the heart of downtown will not greatly affect that.

you should also consider that height and density are not directly related. the land that the project is slated for is probaly already zoned for a project that could hold many hundreds of condo units in a bulky 20 story building, but if the developer is allowed to build a taller thinner tower and put the same number of units in, then the density situation really isn't any different. this is exactly what happened to the optima horizons project. the developer said, "as of right i can build 300 units on this piece of land, but i would like to put them in a slender 36 story tower and leave part of the land open as a public park." the neighbors freaked out and said it was way too tall and too dense and would cause too much congestion so the project was killed. the developer then decided to build his 300 units in a squat 16 story building that occupies the entire site, as was allowed by the zoning for the site. because the neighbors all bitched and moaned, the only thing that happened is that a tall elegant slender building with a public park was replaced with a big squat block of a building with exactly the same density and traffic generation. this is why i maintain that a healthy percentage of evanston's residents are in fact mentally retarded.
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Old March 1st, 2007, 10:44 PM   #144
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
this is why i maintain that a healthy percentage of evanston's residents are in fact mentally retarded.
That is hilarious!

That is sad, that people can be so stupid.
Evanstonians are not all as open minded or very good at critical thinking
as they may think, agreed.
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Old March 1st, 2007, 11:22 PM   #145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
you have it wrong. roszak's 38 story fountain square proposal was never vetoed by the city, roszak simply failed to aquire the land to build the tower.
dan, you are usually right on these things far more than I am, but I was under the impression that the only 38 storey bldg that the city scuttled was the Optima project on Clark and Benson that became the Horizon. I thought they had forced the developer to go linear, including virtually the same number of units with only 11 or 12 floors. The only down-sizing that went on with Rozak, I thought, was the Sienna project on Ridge and I didn't think the issue there was height but density.

Did I get these one wrong?
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Old March 1st, 2007, 11:39 PM   #146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edsg25 View Post
Did I get these one wrong?
yeah, you're talking about different projects. roszak had proposed a 38 story hotel/condo building called "fountain square tower" for the triangular block bound by sherman, orrington & church. roszak failed to aquire the land, so the proposal never went anywhere. it was never vetoed by the city, it simply died on the vine. now focus development is eyeing the same block for a new tower proposal that might stand up to 50 stories tall, if the rumors are true. the fate of this new proposal is anyone's guess, but it sounds like focus is at least having success on the land front.

optima horizons is an entirely different project built a couple of years ago. it was origianally proposed as a 36 story slender tower, but was chopped down to a 16 story block as i described in my previous post.

roszak's sienna development on the northwest side of downtown was scaled back due to issues of both height and density. it was originally envisioned with having 6 towers ranging from 8 to 20 stories, but the neighbors came in and got it reduced to 4 buildings ranging from 8 to 10 stories.

i hope this clears everything up.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 07:27 PM   #147
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Sure it does; and its about ten steps away from the CTA's Davis St. station. But both Metra and CTA are desinged to get people in and out of downtown and have little bearing on car usage within Evanston and its connection to other suburbs and the far north side neighborhoods that surround it.

People going to their jobs on LaSalle Street or Michigan Avenue from DT Evanston can and do take the train, but they are driving (out of necessity) many places when they are "at home".
These kind of statements show a lack of being a real urbanite...sort of always hard for you to let go of the idea of a car.....lol....is the road to salvation...mentality.

Look at Evanston....they have downtown Evanston! They have the area around Dempster! And the area around Main! Getting denser and denser day by day...having grocery stores....movies...restaurants...doctors...lawyers...lake...what the hell would anyone need a car for?
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Old March 7th, 2007, 11:10 PM   #148
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Quote:
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These kind of statements show a lack of being a real urbanite...sort of always hard for you to let go of the idea of a car.....lol....is the road to salvation...mentality.

Look at Evanston....they have downtown Evanston! They have the area around Dempster! And the area around Main! Getting denser and denser day by day...having grocery stores....movies...restaurants...doctors...lawyers...lake...what the hell would anyone need a car for?
I would agree that there is a significant part of Evanston that is very walkable: downtown and Chicago Avenue are high density (for suburbia) as is much of Central. Generally east Evanston is urban in nature. Other parts of the city, not so much. Northwest Evanston, for exmaple, is typical North Shore. But on the whole, i would agree with your assessment about Evanston.

Problem is, Evanstonians don't just operate in Evanston. You'll find them in Wilmette, Skokie, and even in other North Shore and northern suburbs with public transportation worse than those two. Few choose to take a bus to Old Orchard (although they certainly shop there) and the service isn't that great from many parts of Evanston.

As far as being a real "urbanite", I just don't see why that needs to be a goal in this discussion. I find Chicago's urbanization wonderful. I also find Evanston's mix of city and suburbia to be a very positive thing. Evanston has character and I really believe that people are not neccessarily anti-progress if they want to protect that; in fact, they may be very progressive. Those who love urbanization-for-the-sake-of-urbanization sees anyone who is against the type of density they desire to be a NIMY. Yet NIMY's have a place in our discussions, too.

With all the good things happening in Evanston, do I worry you could get too much of a good thing, that we could kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Yes.

And I don't think that makes me a crab-grass loving, out-door bar-b-quing, sprawl celebrating subrbanite by saying it. Give me a break, Chgo3; we don't come neatly packaged into those who think that high density should be everywhere...and those who are "wrong" who don't. There can be a very condescending attitude when city "folks" look at things that way, who see their perspective as a badge of sophistication and getting things right.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 02:25 AM   #149
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Well, has Evanston considered some light rail or BRT linking Evanston with Old Orchard? I think if the bus system gained a little prestige, it would go a long way towards discouraging car usage.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 02:57 AM   #150
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Quote:
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Well, has Evanston considered some light rail or BRT linking Evanston with Old Orchard? I think if the bus system gained a little prestige, it would go a long way towards discouraging car usage.
Evanston hasn't run its own transit system since CTA took over the Evanston Bus Company some 30 years ago. It doesn't make its own decisions. And like I said, most Evanstonians will still want to drive there, no matter how much we tout the value of public transportation.

Funny, but all those "urbanites" in the inner most regions of the North Side still manage to drive and search endlessly for parking at the shops around C&B at North and Clybourn....and if they go home to their new townhouses, most will find a two car garage waiting for them.

I believe the message is: I'm all for urbanization as long as it is the other guy doing the urbanizing.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 05:36 PM   #151
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the john buck co. proposal for a 20 story condo building at 605 davis street in downtown evanston appears to be dead. apparently they failed to reach an agreement with chase bank for an easement on the west side of the propoerty. the propert owner has elected to build a 1 story retail building instead.

full details can be read here: http://www.evanstonnow.com/node/2076



a one story structure seems like an under-use for this piece of property, but it's been vacant for so long that any development, even just a landscaped parking lot, would be a HUGE improvement over what's there now.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 10:53 PM   #152
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i don't think this ever got posted, so here is a new clean rendering of the 14 story 1890 maple street proposal in evanston. on the right side of the image you can see the taller 18 story carroll place from the same developer. carroll place is approved while 1890 maple is still in governmental limbo.

1890 maple is slated to replace an incredibly non-descript 2 story commercial office building that's been vacant for years and really kinda kills the corner.

carroll place is slated to replace a vacant lot that's been vacant for as long as i can remember.

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Old March 15th, 2007, 08:22 PM   #153
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EvanstonNow reports that the 1890 maple project received a tough go at its plan commission meeting. the official vote was postponed, but several memebers of the commission appeared to be leaning against approval. the plan commission does not have the final say on the project though, the city council will ultimately decide the fate of 1890 maple, and they already overrode the rejection of the plan commission for the carroll place project from the same developer right next door.

read the full article here: http://www.evanstonnow.com/node/2112
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Old March 16th, 2007, 05:13 PM   #154
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Evanston floats idea of new stop on Skokie Swift



By Dan Gibbard, Tribune staff reporter. Freelance reporter Andrew Schroedter contributed to this report
Published March 16, 2007


For decades the Chicago Transit Authority's Yellow Line has rolled through Evanston without stopping until the Howard Street border with Chicago, but city officials are taking steps toward possibly changing that, surveying residents to see if demand would support a new station on the south side.

"Opening up access to an existing line just improves mobility for residents, businesses, employees," said John Burke, director of the Evanston Division of Transportation. "It's always weighed against [the extra time it takes to stop], but certainly we think improving access makes sense for south Evanston."

The survey, mailed March 9 to a sampling of residents, seeks demographic data as well as opinions and preferences. It asks about commuting patterns, where respondents work and whether they would be interested in a rapid transit stop nearby.

A public meeting will be held in the coming months to discuss the findings.

The city believes it could be feasible, said Burke, who mentioned Asbury, Dodge and Ridge Avenues as possible station sites. All three had stations on the old North Shore railroad line, a Yellow Line predecessor.

"It's an area where there's a fair amount of redevelopment," he said. "It's the area closest to Chicago, so there are some densities there that can support transit."

The survey is part of a larger market analysis Evanston, Skokie and the Regional Transportation Authority are conducting on the Yellow Line.

It's the first step in a process that can take years but appears to have worked in neighboring Skokie, which has secured funding for a downtown stop on the Yellow Line, also known as the Skokie Swift.

A 2003 study led to funding for the Oakton Street station, which should be completed next year, said Steve Marciani, the village's planning supervisor, but that's considered "lightning speed" for such a project.

Since opening in 1964, the Swift has run non-stop from Howard, where it links with the CTA's Red and Purple Lines, to Dempster Street in Skokie.

In addition to the Oakton stop, a study on extending the line to Old Orchard Road is under way.

In other north suburban transportation news:

Work will begin this spring that will nearly complete the Des Plaines River Trail in Lake County, leaving a gap of one-third of a mile behind a miniature golf course near Lincolnshire.

After a decade of negotiations, the Lake County Forest Preserve District acquired 12 of the 13 parcels needed to finish the path's southern end and link it with Cook County's trail, said Mike Fenelon, director of planning, conservation and development for the district.

The $604,000 project will extend the trail a quarter-mile south from West Riverside Road and a half-mile north from Estonian Lane in Lincolnshire and unincorporated Vernon Township, Fenelon said.

Construction will take most of the summer, Fenelon said. When it's done, hardy riders can probably ride around the gap and get back onto the trail by heading to Milwaukee Avenue and cutting back east to the trail, but there's no sidewalk or marked path for much of the way.

"You can get around it, but it's grass, and in some places it's wider and in some places it's narrower," Fenelon said. "For small children it's probably not advisable, but we know a lot of people will probably do it when we get it in."

The district is still trying to acquire land behind Par-King Skill Golf, 21711 Milwaukee Ave., but hasn't been able to agree on a price, County Board member Ann Maine said. Though some would like the land condemned through eminent domain, "that's just really fraught with a lot of problems," she said.

"We would love to work something out," Maine said. "We'd love to be able to complete the trail."

Northbrook recently purchased three eco-friendly vehicles that will replace outdated ones driven by village staff.

Altogether, Northbrook paid more than $66,000 for two Toyota Prius cars and one Ford Escape. If driven about 16,000 miles per year, the three hybrid vehicles will save the village at least $3,000 in annual fuel costs, officials said.

The hybrids replace three Ford Taurus sedans powered by ethanol-based fuel. The switch to fuel-saving hybrids was recommended by the Village Board to save money and benefit the environment. "This is sort of the next step," Village Manager John Novinson said.

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Old March 16th, 2007, 07:14 PM   #155
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this makes so much sense that it boggles the mind as to why it's taken so damn long to get this ball rolling. throw in two more skokie stations at crawford and at main, and we'll have ourselves a practically brand new full fledged near north suburban L line for relative peanuts.

extend this thing up to old orchard and then we'll really be in business.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 02:40 PM   #156
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1700 Central

Has anyone heard any recent news about the 1700 central development? Thanks!
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Old April 7th, 2007, 02:36 PM   #157
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some of you may be aware of the large scale Sienna development going up on Ridge due west of DT Evanston. Their web site had a promo video which I thought was quite good and does a great job of conveying the urban and urbane feel of DT Evanston (and Evanston in general) while also getting in some great shots of DT Chicago and the Evanston lakefront.

Check it out at:

http://www.siennaevanston.com/
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Old April 7th, 2007, 02:37 PM   #158
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and the NU campus
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Old April 12th, 2007, 10:43 PM   #159
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in a bit of a suprising move, the evanston plan commission has unanimously approved the 1890 maple project, a 14 story rental builing. i would expect that this will now be approved by the city council.

read more at evanstonnow: http://www.evanstonnow.com/node/2212
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Old April 21st, 2007, 12:38 AM   #160
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On the horizon
Buyers flock to downtown Evanston to be near urban amenities

By Jane Adler
Special to the Tribune
Published April 20, 2007

It may not top every traveler's wish list, but downtown Evanston is almost a must-see for condominium buyers.

Take, for example, Michael and Mandy Gutwaks. They were out walking in downtown Evanston when, for fun, they stopped in at the sales office at Sherman Plaza, a new 25-story mixed-use high-rise on Davis Street.

They had been thinking about buying a place and Michael Gutwaks always liked Evanston because he had spent time there as a teenager visiting his mother.

So they took a tour of an available unit at Sherman Plaza and liked what they saw. But, being prudent, they didn't want to buy the first place they looked at without checking out other places.

They considered a condo in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood that had a lower price tag and lower property taxes than the Evanston condo. The Rogers Park unit was also twice as big as the snug 730-square-foot unit at Sherman Plaza.

But the Evanston building eventually won out.

"The location is why we picked this place," said Michael Gutwaks, who helps run a family-owned business, Maya Romanoff, a manufacturer and importer of wall coverings.

Now that they've settled in, the couple has an easy walk to the train, restaurants and stores. And they like the urban feel of the downtown.

A bonus: sunrises over the lake.

"This is the environment we wanted," said Michael Gutwaks.

While condominium sales have slowed in Evanston just as they have elsewhere, buyers continue to show interest in the latest crop of downtown buildings. Buyers like the convenient location in the burgeoning urban hub with its multiplying list of hip restaurants and shops.

Proximity to Lake Michigan and Northwestern University are big pluses too.

And because Evanston has become a desirable address, with a push from the city, developers have continued to build. A handful of new high-rises are under way, and several more are on the drawing board.

Even so, no one seems concerned about a glut of new units, especially when compared to nearby Chicago where fears are real about too many condos hitting the market.

So far, unit prices in Evanston have remained stable, and developers say sales have picked up since winter. However, most new buildings are offering some incentives to lure buyers into the market.

"Pricing is still strong," said Gail Lissner, vice president at Appraisal Research Counselors, Chicago.

New units in Evanston are priced in the $300 to $400 per square foot range, she figures. By comparison, new units in downtown Chicago start at about $300 per square foot, and units in luxury buildings at $500 per square foot.

"Evanston is a great condo location," Lissner added.

Developer Tom Roszak, whose company has built about 500 units in Evanston, says 2006 was a slow year and sales were about half the typical number. But condo sales have recently picked up at Sienna, Roszak's big downtown project, built around a one-acre garden plaza.

Located at 1720 Oak Street, Sienna's first phase is sold out and about 70 percent of the units in a second phase are spoken for, Roszak said.

Sales just started at a third building. Unit prices range from about $250,000 to more than $1 million.

Since Sienna first opened for sales two years ago, prices have increased by 10 to 30 percent, depending on the particular unit, though Roszak said prices were stagnant in 2006.

"We are back to normal absorption levels," said Roszak, president of Roszak/ADC, Evanston. He's currently offering several incentives to kick off pre-construction sales in the third building, and in his words, "to help get people in the door."

The menu of incentives includes financing help, several months of free assessments, or interior finish upgrades.

Sales of existing condos in Evanston have slowed, according to Mary Summerville, broker/owner at Prairie Shore Properties in the suburb.

Sales of one-bedroom condos fell to 133 units last year, from about 200 units in 2005.

Vintage units have taken the biggest hit, Summerville said.

Unless a building has a total gut rehab, people are not interested because they can choose a new building.

"It's definitely a challenge," she said. "Pricing is key."

Agent Jack Lewitz writes an Internet blog about Evanston real estate. He thinks the condo market is relatively stable, but the inventory has inched up. There's currently about a 6.7 month supply of condos for sale, compared to a historical norm of about a four-month supply.

"It's little bit of a buyer's market," said Lewitz, broker associate at Weichert Realtors-Lakeshore Partners, Evanston.

That's good news for buyers like Tracy Moses, who is somewhat typical of the recent wave of condo buyers in Evanston.

Moses, along with her husband and teenage daughter, selected a unit at 900 Chicago Avenue, a building that opened last year on the southern edge of downtown.

The family was looking for a more urban lifestyle after having lived in Texas for the last few years. Moses' husband was no longer tied to Texas for his job and Tracy Moses wanted to move back to Chicago where she had lived, and her mother currently resides.

So the family moved from a 4,100-square-foot house with a swimming pool in suburban Dallas to a 1,500-square-foot condo.

"It was a shock for us," said Moses, who was tired of suburban life. "But the house we had was too big and we were really ready for a change."

What Moses likes most is the fact that they can walk most places, and that Evanston is an up-and-coming spot.

"We had three cars in Texas and now we don't even drive the car we have that much," said Moses.

In 1989, the City of Evanston set out to create more residential units in the city's hub.

"We wanted a 24/7 downtown so we needed more people living downtown," said James Wolinski, director of community development for the City of Evanston.

Early projects were big rental buildings. But since 2000, about 1,100 new condominiums have been added to the downtown core area, according to city numbers.

By comparison, about 675 new units outside the downtown area were added.

Two new downtown developments have been approved. Grand [email protected] Bay, with 70 units, is now under way at Green Bay Road and Emerson Street.

Winthrop Club will break ground in the next month or so at 1567 Maple Street. Another project, with 152 condos, has been proposed at 1890 Maple Street in the area called Research Park.

The 15-story Winthrop Club will have 99 units, according to Nancy Arient, a sales representative at the building. Unit prices range from the low $300,000s to about $1.4 million, though a penthouse sold for $1.8 million.

Arient said buyer incentives are not being offered, and that unit prices will probably be raised when constructions begins.

"We are including a lot in our homes," she said. Units come with granite countertops, hardwood flooring, crown molding and floor-to-ceiling tile in the bathroom. A parking place is included in the price.

Gail Kaitis plans to move to the new Winthrop Club building when it's finished, probably sometime in November of 2008. She's buying a $500,000 two-bedroom unit.

Kaitis currently has a two-bedroom condo on the 10th floor at Optima Towers, 1580 Sherman Ave., a newer mid-rise building downtown.

"My view has been ruined," she said.

Before Sherman Plaza, now the city's tallest building, was built, she was able to see the lake, and, to the north, the Baha'i Temple in Wilmette.

"The view may not be a reason that most people would move," said Kaitis. "But my view is very important to me."

The view problem is a common one in Chicago, but it's becoming an issue in Evanston too, as more high-rises are built.

"We are running out of places to redevelop," said the city's Wolinski.

An 18-story building proposed by developer Optima at Davis Street and Chicago Avenue was voted down about six months ago by the City Council. It was too close to low-rise, vintage buildings, said Wolinski.

"I think that spot will be redeveloped, but the height of the project will be greatly reduced," he said.

Wolinski figures about 25 downtown buildings are under review for landmarking by the Evanston Historic Preservation Commission. Those sites could be landmarked and preserved, or, if not landmarked, then redeveloped.

"But we would like to maintain our traditional districts," he noted, adding that certain streets with low-rise buildings would not be appropriate spots for new high-rises.

For now, Wolinski said, "the City Council is taking a pause and catching their breath." And his department is updating its downtown plan.

"Fifteen years ago, we were looking for developers, now they come here. The city can be selective," he said.

At the same time, developers are looking for spots to build on the fringe of downtown. At the southeast corner of Main Street and Chicago Avenue, a new 71-unit building will get under way this summer.

Mainstreet Station recently opened sales, according to Prairie Shore's Summerville, who handles sales for the new building.

"We've had 80 requests for information from potential buyers," said Summerville, noting that business is picking up. "That's pretty good."
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