Plans for the 1727 Oak Ave. development were approved by Evanston’s Design and Project Review Committee this afternoon and are scheduled for a Plan Commission hearing next Wednesday.

John Carlson of the Trammell Crow Company said the 17-story, 169-unit “active adult” project is now planned to have 17 affordable units on site with rental rates at 50, 60 and 80 percent of area median income. That’s a revision from an earlier proposal that would have had some of the units at 100 percent of AMI.

John Carlson.

Carlson said placing all the affordable units on site, instead of using the fee-in-lieu option offered by the inclusionary housing ordinance, would mean the developer would be providing an additional public benefit for affordable housing of roughly $3.5 million more than the $1.7 million fee-in-lieu amount required by the ordinance.

Sue Loellbach, manager of advocacy for Connections for the Homeless, said she was pleased to see the affordable housing issue discussed this early in the review process for this project.

A dog park open to the public is planned for the narrow north end of the triangular site.

But she said she hopes the city will make the ordinance stronger and make the type of package Trammell Crow is proposing the minimum for what a developer would be allowed to do.

Assistant City Manager Erika Storlie, who chaired the meeting, said there had been a lot of improvements to the project since the committee first reviewed the proposal two weeks ago.

Erika Storlie.

She noted the inclusionary housing changes and the elimination of a curb cut on the north side of the building, which she said resolved “a big safety concern.”

Anti-development activist Kiera Kelly questioned whether it’s wise to construct two new high rises within a block of each other — this one and 1815 Ridge — but added that the 1727 Oak site “seems more suitable for a high rise” than two locations on Sherman Avenue — the Albion site approved last fall by the City Council and the Northlight project withdrawn last week.

Carlson said that if the project also wins approval from the Plan Commission and City Council the company hopes to break ground by August.

The site currently is used for parking by patients of the NorthShore University HealthSystem office in the adjoining 1007 Church St. building.

Patient parking is being relocated to the garage of the Sienna development across the street.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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