After nearly two years in the development stage, including major revisions in response to neighborhood protests, Chase Bank told Evanston Now Tuesday that it had decided against establishing a drive-through branch in far northwest Evanston.

A spokesperson for the bank, Christine Holavas, confirmed that the bank had decided not to establish the facility where Crawford Avenue, Gross Point Road, and Central Street meet at the northwestern entrance to Evanston.

While unwilling to give a definitive reason for the bank’s decision, Holavas said, “It just didn’t work out.”

The fate of the branch, whose initial design aroused controversy with residents in the area, was heralded around the first of October by a giant “For Sale” sign erected at the site, adjacent to a portapotty and mounds of dirt and rock, which remained since the underground gasoline storage tanks were removed in April.

A call to the developer last week revealed that the property was being “actively marketed” and that the Chase’s plans were “on hold.”

Sixth Ward Alderman Mark Tendam, when told of the bank’s decision, said late Tuesday he was “not surprised” and that he had put the chances of it going through at “about 50-50” when he saw the “For Sale” sign go up.

He said his efforts now will be directed principally toward restoring the appearance of the site, which is currently a significant eyesore at a major entrance to the city.

Initially, the bank proposed including the gas station, a vacant lot across an alley from it, and a third lot adjacent to it. But after residents complained that it was encroaching into a residential area, it eliminated the third lot from its plans.

Top: This is how the lot at Gross Point Road and Crawford Avenue looks today.

Earlier stories:

Chase bank branch plan may be reworked (Dec. 15, 2011)

Bank branch plan clears hurdle (Oct. 24, 2012)

Chase bank one step closer on Gross Point (Nov. 13, 2012)

Tanks removed at planned bank site (April 25, 2013)

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. Corner lot

    I'd like to thank Edgemark properties for maintaining such a beautiful lot for our cozy little corner of town.  The garbage and the huge boulders are simply awesome.  The rocks are precious too.  What can I say about the fence?  It is simply to die for.  Thank goodness they don't have a nice grass carpet like the property on Central near Ryan Field had at one time.  

    Thank you Edgemark, 

    Fernando Ferrer


    1. Lovely view of rocks & debris

      What did you expect?  You worked so hard against Chase and Edgemark's development.  I expect this site to remain "as-is" or at least vacant for several years.  If Chase does not have the desire to continue working towards this development, who else do you think will have the capital, time investment, and desire to fight NIMBYs. Edgemark has no duty nor responsiblity to beautify this site for your viewing pleasure.  I hope that you don't have to sell your house for the next several years… a Chase building would have enhanced your value much more than a tired old gas station and certainly more than an abandoned one.

      1. Come on Anon …

        Come on Anon,

        Mr. Ferrer is quite correct… that corner is an eyesore… And you are mistaken, Edgemark can and should be cited by the City to remediate the mess there ASAP… or condemn it!

        Respectfully, Brian G. Becharas

  2. Citgo Lot

    I thought there was a law somewhere that empty lots had to have "green" rather than what is on the Citgo lot right now.

    Does anyone know where to find the pertinent section in the zoning or other ordinance?

    I seem to remember reading an article about the empty lot at Main and Chicago where eventually the lot owner was forced to plant grass – maybe even on the former Central Street theatre lot as well.

    I did write to Alderman Tendam a few weeks ago asking the same question, without a response.


    1. Cleanup of the site

      City officials I talked to say there are laws on the books that require a developer to clean up a site, usually after demolition. This property, however, still has a building to be demolished. It's in the interests of the developer, however,  to clean up the site so he can sell it to someone else.

  3. Tendam needs to clarify

    What does our good 6th Ward Alderman Mark Tendam plan to do about the huge rocks and fence around the property? It looks much worse than before.

    Maybe someone should ask Tendam why this project he immersed himself in failed.  Why was he not surprised this development  failed? What does he know others don't?

    1. Failed Chase project

      It failed cause Chase didn't ask the City for money to help with clean up like what happened at Gordon Foods. The neighbors whined and would rather have old Gas Station on that corner. Perhaps new Owner if it over happens will want the Rocks as part of landscaping

  4. Lovely view of rocks & debris

    The corner looks awful and the present condition is the direct result of NIMBYs actions to deny Chase Bank the opportunity to occupy the site in a reasonable and feasible way.  The current condition is likely the result of remediation efforts that have to follow EPA and IEPA guidelines.  Those guidelines probably trump any City of Evanston ordinance.  I am confident that Edgemark will continue the clean up efforts, but I would be surprised if the City of Evanston had a way to force them to make it look as nice is the Central St. lot east of Green Bay Rd.  I have a fair amount of dealings with the City of Evanston regarding vacant properties and property maintenance. Edgemark will eventually finish their cleanup efforts, but I expect that it will continue to be an eyesore for years to come, while in compliance with local ordinances.

  5. Protesters got what they deserved

    This town is laughable!

    Now the same neighbors who thought a bank, for God's sake, would be a neighborhood detriment are compliaining that the site looks horrible? I say the protesters got what they deserved. I hope the site remains a rocky outpost for years and the whiners who didn't want the bank get to look at it and think long and hard about their foolishness! Who in the world would complain about a bank replacing a crummy, decrepit gas station?

  6. Evanston’s monument to NIMBYism

    I can only imagine that Chase spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this proposed location, dealing with the NIMBYs and their demands.  I guess they finally said enough is enough…  We have to stop making it so difficult for businesses to do business in Evanston.  

    What we now get to look at every time we drive by the site is Evanston's Monument to NIMBYism.

  7. Didn’t they chase out McDonalds ?

    The people in that area don't seem to want business.  Maybe a 'no business' zone should be created for four blocks around there and the portion of taxpayer revenue for residents in that are reduced to $0.

    1. Really?

      Let's see…Sarkis, CVS, Will-Ridge auto, Hot dog Island, subway, starbucks…and you say we don't like business….hmmmm…no wonder you sign your name with anonymous.

      — fernando ferrer

  8. Franks location

    That be a Great location for Felony Franks if he would give Evanston a second look. (perhaps council will like the menu better with second look)

  9. Bring back McDonalds

    I for one would be happy to have a McDonalds or a Chase Bank in this neighborhood. The neighbors get what they deserve, an unappealing site to look at for many months to come.


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