Evanston’s City Council is scheduled to vote Monday to buy rows of boarded-up properties on Emerson Street and Jackson Avenue for $1.675 million.

The site had been proposed for redevelopment in 2018 as market-rate condominiums.

A rendering of the condo building that had been proposed to face Emerson Street.

But fierce opposition from neighbors caused the would-be developer to pull out of the project. The neighbors then sought to have the area downzoned, but that proposal has failed to advance.

Now Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) is recommending that the city pay the property owner, Victoria Kathrein, the $1,675,000 she’s seeking for the land.

The properties Ald. Burns wants the city to acquire are highlighted on this Google Maps aerial view.

Burns says the city would then arrange to demolish the existing buildings and develop a request for proposals to have a new developer construct a mixed-income affordable housing project on the site.

Funding for the purchase would come from the city’s affordable housing fund and the West Evanston tax increment financing district.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. When the new 5th ward school opens these parcels will be worth their weight in gold.

  2. Mr. Piper, do you mind to explain why? These lots were sitting on the market for very long time. When school was announced the asking price was $1,950,000. The very last price was $1,750,000. We still have a time to beat city’s offer with your help.

  3. It seems unclear why the city should intervene in this. What is the market failure that needs to be corrected? Maybe the current owner could lower her offer price to start. Why should the residents of this city pay the differential of what the owner wants and what the market will pay? Local activists don’t want market rate apartments. Too bad, if they don’t want to expand the tax base then they can volunteer what city services they are willing to forgo.

  4. When I look on the real estate apps I don’t even see those sites as currently on the market. Am I missing something?

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