The Plan Commission Wednesday recommended approved for a proposal from Fifth Third Bank to open a drive-through branch in the shopping center at 2400 Main St.

Bank official Laura Johnson told the commission that the new branch will be much larger than the bank’s existing branch downtown at 1710 Maple Ave., which the bank plans to maintain.

The branch would have six employees and be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

The bank’s architect said the building will have a brick exterior with cast-stone accents.

It would have four drive-through lanes, three staffed by tellers and one for an ATM. The building would have maximum height of 26 feet, with the main portion just under 20 feet tall.

The bank’s landscape architect said the proposal calls for extensive use of trees and foundation plantings to give a more residential character to what’s been a very barren landscape for the two decades of the shopping center’s existence.

Bank consultants forecast that the project would generate net new tax revenue to the city and schools of over $250,000 and that it would have no significant impact on traffic levels on Main Street.

If the proposal wins approval from the City Council, bank officials hope to begin construction by next spring and have the branch open by November 2007.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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