The developer of the proposed Carroll Place condo project at 1881 Oak Ave. has a new architect and a new plan for the project that reshapes the building, but doesn’t dramatically alter its height.

The new architects, Fitzgerald Associates of Chicago, designed the 1567 Maple Ave. condo development that won approval from the City Council last fall on its second trip through the review process.

The new design for 1881 Oak Ave. calls for an 18-story structure with 165 condo units, parking for 247 cars and a 1,200 square foot retail space on the ground floor.

Developer Robert King originally proposed last fall an 18-story structure with 175 condo units, 175 parking spaces and ground-floor retail

After sharp criticism of the amount of parking provided, he submitted a revised plan this winter that called for a 19-story structure with 172 condo units, 270 parking spaces but no retail space.

The city’s agenda for today’s Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee meeting at which the new plan was discussed inaccurately listed the new design as being 16 stories tall.

As the architects described the new plan, it provides a plaza at the corner of Emerson Street and Oak, with a three story “water feature” or artificial waterfall, that the architects said was modeled on one in a park in New York City.

The parking garage is concealed from the Emerson side of the building by the retail and lobby space on the ground floor and apartment units on the second through fourth floors.

Assistant Planning Director Dennis Marino asked whether the developer had considered further reducing the height of the building, given the site in what some consider a transitional area between downtown and a traditional residential neighborhood.

Floor plan at fifth floor level. (Images courtesy Carroll Properties)

Architect Patrick Fitzgerald said, “At some point every neighborhood is a transitional neighborhood. I can remember Evanston 45 years ago when there were nothing but two-story buildings along this stretch. Research Park changed that dynaimc substantially.”

“Downtown districts are expanding as downtown living comes back into fashion for the first time in 50 years. Communities whose downtowns aren’t growing are wishing the could, because the lack of growth indicates a problem,” he added.

Community Development Director James Wolinski cautioned that the developer likely would be asked by the city council to “submit financial pro formas for the project for review by the city’s real estate consultant, and justify the number of units you’re requesting.”

The developer has scheduled a community meeting on the project for Tuesday, April 11, at Ebenezer A.M.E. Church on Emerson Street.

The Plan Commission’s hearing on the project is scheduled to resume on May 10.

The new design varies the shape of the upper levels of the building.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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