Evanston city officials are reviewing a proposal to build a 27-story, 217-unit rental apartment building on the northwest corner of Davis Street and Chicago Avenue.

Community Development Director Mark Muenzer says the plan calls for preserving the landmark two-story University Building on the corner. The construction site includes the vacant lot just west of the University Building and the Chase Bank drive-thru to the west of that.

The project, proposed by Vermilion Development of Chicago, would also include 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 176 parking spaces.

Vermilion’s website indicates the company has worked on a variety of residential and retail projects in neighborhoods adjacent to university campuses.

Muenzer says the proposal seeks several planned development allowances including for height, floor-area-ratio, number of dwelling units and the amount of parking provided. It will require a super-majority vote by the City Council to win approval.

Muenzer says the proposal was filed with the city before the Jan. 1 effective date of recent amendments to the city’s inclusionary housing ordinance, so it won’t have to comply with that ordinance, although Muenzer says city staff is negotiating with the developer to arrange a contribution toward affordable housing.

The building site is bordered on the west by the city’s tallest building, the 20-story Orrington Plaza office tower built in 1969 at 1603 Orrington Ave., and on the north by the 24-story Park Evanston apartments, which opened in 1997.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Evanston building questions

    Sorry, I haven't been keeping track but does someone know how many apartment buildings are currently under construction, in the pre-construction phase, or being proposed like this one on Chicago and Davis?

    In addition, is the building of large/tall complexes dependent on zoning or on whether a street currently has tall buildings vs. apartments?

    1. Current developments

      Hi L.P.,

      Large apartment developments under construction include 835 Chicago Ave. (112 units) and 1620 Central St. (47 units).

      You might also include the 65-unit expansion of The Merion retirement community at 1601 Chicago Ave. and the 110-unit extended stay Hyatt hotel under construction at 1515 Chicago Ave.

      The 1571 Maple Ave. rental apartment development (101 units) is approved and about to start construction.

      In some stage of the review process, in addition to the Davis Street project, are a proposed 831 Emerson development (297 units) and a proposed 150 unit assisted living project at 1815 Ridge Ave.

      Heights allowed are set by zoning. But the zoning code permits bonuses for planned developments under a variety of circumstances. And zoning can be changed. Zoning decisions tend to be influenced by what's already in place, but also by a desire to stimulate new development that will improve the community's economy.

      — Bill

      1. Another apartment building–what about new shopping in Evanston

        I'm sure it has not been lost on many that once again the new construction is for apartments.

        But no one seems to want to put up new building [or even remodel old] for shopping.

        Anyone who lived here in the 70s or even 80s remember how you could buy anything in Evanston. We had Fields, Wiebolds(sp), Lytons, Baskins [men's clothing], shoe stores, K-Mart and on and on.  We had far more parking than today and it was always filled—unlike the Maple garage which has to seek deals with new apartments, the city and NU to fill its spots [and apparentlystill can't].

        In the early 70s small merchants killed Pennys wanting to build on Elgin and Sherman and be an anchor for more stores.  Recently the Council and I assume others hemed-hawded on Sears for the Plaza until they withdrew their proposal.  Target was relegated to the far side of Evanston where only cars [supposed bane of an enviornmental Council] and not attractive by CTA or Target saw the Council would never let them downtown—better to go to the one on Wilson or Loop.

        Now our only hope for a downtown department store so we don't have to go to the Loop, is Pennys [currently not even talked about].  

        Yes we provide apartments—so people can catch the trains to the Loop or buses to Old Orchard, Golf Mill, Woodfield. Nice of the Council to provide Skokie, Schaumburg, Niles, Chicago with Evanston residents spending money.

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