Evanston aldermen this week decided they'd rather see storefronts at 524-526 Davis St. downtown remain vacant than see an adult daycare center open there.
Alderman Judy Fiske, whose 1st Ward includes the property, said the center would take up ground-floor retail space that neighbors would rather see filled with commercial uses that would generate more business for other businesses in the area.
But landlord Ted Mavrakis said the building has been empty for three years. Mavrakis said he's welcome a restaurant or other tenant there, but can't find one.
A few years ago the developer of the three Optima high-rise condo projects in town had proposed constructing an 18-story building, dubbed the Optima Promenade, on the Chicago Avenue and Davis Street corner that includes the property.
But city officials rejected that project in 2006 as a result of objections from neighbors, and the Davis Street site was bought by Mavrakis, who owns other commercial properties in Evanston, including the Fountain Square building.
Daycare operator Omega Community Healthcare operates similar adult daycare programs in Lincolnwood and Park Ridge.
Elio Montenegro, vice president of operations at Omega, said the program would have about 20 "active seniors" participating in the program at the center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
He said that activities would include arts and craft, bingo and weekly field trips and that participants would be able to go to restaurants and shops in the area.
The program cost, he said, is $60 a day, and some participants pay for it themselves, while the cost for others is covered by the Illinois Department of Aging.
The participants would get breakfast, lunch and a snack, all provided by outside caterers and not prepared on site, Montenegro added.
The special use permit required for the center had been recommended for approval by the Zoning Board of Appeals on a 4-2 vote.
But the aldermen voted 8-1 against the special use request, with only Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, voting against the denial motion.
The council will take a final vote on the move to reject the project at its next meeting on Dec. 13.