Developer tweaks plan for city's tallest building

The new design for the podium or base of the 601 Davis development.

Vermilion Enterprises has made some adjustments to its plan for what would become Evanston's tallest building ahead of a Preservation Commission review of the 601 Davis St. project tonight.

At a proposed 353 feet, the new structure would rise 76 feet above the adjacent 1603 Orrington tower completed in 1969.

The previous design for the podium.

The new plan shortens the height of the podium by five feet. The project architects, Solomon Cordwell Buenz, say they've also switched the cladding material for the podium to brick and changed the proportions and detailing of windows to better relate to nearby buildings, including the landmark University Building on the corner which would be preserved and renovated as part of this project.

The design will require a variety of zoning allowances including for height and parking.

The 33-story building would have ground floor retail space, 318 rental units and 176 parking spaces -- a ratio of apartments to parking that's in line with the city's new transit oriented development rules.

The Preservation Commission meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Room 2404 of the Civic Center. Details of the developer's plans are available online.

The 601 Davis project is also scheduled to be reviewed by the Design and Project Review Committee at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, also in Room 2404 at the Civic Center.

The project will then be reviewed, likely starting next month, by the Plan Commission before going before the City Council for final action early next year

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Comments

Put the taller buildings further from the lake

It would be nice if Evanston would put the taller buildings further from the lake so they are less likely to block views. It will be interesting to see if people want to live in small apartments that lack parking for each unit. 

Looks hideous...?

Maybe log cabins with hitching posts would look better?

601 DAVIS

"Looks hideous" is not a constructive comment and neither is "Would you prefer log cabins and hitching posts".  Many people I know just don't want to see Evanston become filled with canyons of high rises, turning into an anonymous place (with too many empty storefronts).  There are shopping centers built elsewhere that are building 19th century facades on stores to make their business districts more quaint and inviting.  Evanston needs to distinquish itself from other less appealing suburban business districts.  The space needs something, but why does another highrise have to be the solution?  Fountain Sq. could have been moved there, instead of cutting off more of Sherman and Orrington to renovate it.  Traffic in Evanston is ever increasing, and that area is one of the most heavily trafficed.

Its Surroundings

Its surroundings are a collection of some of the tallest building in Evanston including the Chase Bank Tower, the Park Evanston, and the Carlson Building. It's totally appropriate to build tall buildings in the heart of a district that contains other tall buildings.

"Totally hideous" is a rather subjective assessment, but I think the level of detail and the materials selected ensure this project will not qualify as "totally hideous" by most people's standards.

You're fighting to maintain a derelict bank drive-through and an empty lot. You're standing against a project that will rehabiliate the historic property adjacent to the new building. You're tacitly opposed to bringing in more paying customers and more of a tax base into the city. You're standing against progress.

You, and those like you, will lose.

Two things you should look up

Two things you should look up, Aaron. The poverty rate in your city, and wind tunnels. I'm not saying those are the only reasons this building is unecessary and offensive, but there is no excuse for a city valuing its reputation, appearance, or income over the quality of life of its residents. Think again before you accuse others of "standing against progress". This building, if built, will be a monument to Evanston's constant lack thereof.

Poverty

Development alone cannot address endemic poverty, and I wouldn't pretend that it were so. However, for folks on the edge, increases in property taxes for both owners and for renters for whom these costs are passed to, they can be destabilizing. With the all but disappearance of manufacturing and ongoing shifts in retail, the city is pretty reliant on property taxes to meet the shared needs of Evanston. If that property tax base cannot grow because development opponents oppose buildings that will significantly add to the property tax base, then those individuals all but ensure that owners and renters on the edge will be pushed into poverty by the ever expanding tax needs of the city.

So, forgive the hyperbole, but it is development opponents that seem to be indifferent to the economic interests of the most vulnerable residents of Evanston.

Cities are for people. And cities are growing and changing, or they are dying. NIMBYs are welcome to their opinions, but they should be rationally opposed by the many who see a better way and a brighter future when we willingly embrace change.

quality of life

If your a historian then there are a couple things you should look up. 

Before downtown development happened downtown had no character, unless you call crumbling parking garages and decrepit, vacant storefronts character.  The only notice anyone paid to downtown Evanston was from the large rating agencies, who were threatening a downgrade of Evanston's credit rating because of the communities unwillingness to address the dire state of downtown or embrace the future.

Highrise development came to downtown and only then did Evanston start receiving livability awards, several of them, while receiving notice from across the country for TOD done well.  People actually started walking our streets, small business expanded, employment expanded, tax revenues expanded, all simple fact any historian can look up.

And there has been no tradeoff of income over quality of life here. The quality of life for it's residents was improved, period.  That isn't even a debateable discussion, people desire moving into our downtown because of the quality of life now present here, that is also a simple and obvious fact.

The only people who don't understand changing lifestyles, the need for density within inner ring suburbs, are Nimby's.  The only people standing against progress are the Nimby's,  Aarons statements are most valid.  This downtown isn't done yet, as more tall buildings are built the vibrancy of this downtown will only increase. 

Hopefully this new council continues to understand that and doesn't succumb to the same old Nimby obstructionist handwringing.  

Character ? Or something to live here for

I don't know when you refer as to 'development' or what you define as 'character' [many would probably disagree] but until the early 1980s you could actually shop in Evanston for almost anything you wanted. That brought out people to shop. I would agree that until sometime in the 80s there were very few places to eat more than light foods and ice cream, but I suspect that was more the Council's slow reaction to any business coming to Evanston [sadly still true] instead of 'development' not occuring.


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