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Apartments planned for shuttered church downtown

A developer presented plans to redevelop the former Sojourner Covenant Church property at 1101 Church St. in Evanston at a 2nd Ward meeting Thursday night.

A drawing showing an aerial view of the planned 1101 Church St. project.

A developer presented plans to redevelop the former Sojourner Covenant Church property at 1101 Church St. in Evanston at a 2nd Ward meeting Thursday night.

The plans from Campbell Coyle Real Estate call for renovating the church to hold seven townhouse-style units and constructing a new five-story, 23-unit apartment building on the site of the former minister’s residence and parking lot behind the church.

A rendering of the planned apartment building facing Oak Avenue.

The project would include three affordable units as required by the city’s inclusionary zoning ordinance.

A Google Maps view of the site, looking southwest from Oak Avenue.

Developer Christopher Dillion said the new building would be 49 feet tall excluding the elevator penthouse, considerably less than the 85-foot height permitted under the existing R6 zoning. But he said the plans would require variations for lot coverage and setbacks.

A ground-floor plan for the project.

He said the proposal would “celebrate the church as it exists” while creating a more modern appearance for the new building, using metal panels and masonry on the exterior and creating “clean, simple modern interiors.”

He said market-rate rents would likely start at around $1,500 for one bedroom units and could range up to $3,800 for the largest three-bedroom, two-bath units.

The plans call for just eight on-site parking spaces, where 22 parking spaces are required. Dillion said he’s talking to the city and to owners of several nearby buildings that have excess parking capacity to lease the additional required parking slots.

He said the property has been off the tax rolls, so the development would likely generate about $135,000 a year in new property tax revenue.

Community Development Director Johanna Nyden said the plans are still being reviewed by city staff and have not yet been scheduled for a meeting of the city’s Design and Project Review Committee, which would begin the formal public review process.

Sojourner Covenant Church was founded in 1891 by Swedish immigrants and the existing building dates to 1911. The church had 25 members when it closed in 2018.

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