A rendering of the latest concept for the 1621 Chicago Ave. site.

Revised plans for the Merion Legacy development at 1621 Chicago Ave. go before a city panel Tuesday.

And included with those plans is an updated report from a consultant to the developer that says the latest version of the project — with 180 apartment units — will generate a smaller overall net increase in revenue to local taxing bodies than the 240-unit version of the development the city rejected in 2020.

The figures shown here are based on the first year of projected full occupancy for the buildings — 2025 for the rejected 2020 plan and 2027 for the current version of the development. The numbers generally increase with inflation in subsequent years.

Evanston’s two school districts do considerably worse under the new plan, according to the studies from The Perman Group — primarily because the 2020 development was designed to be targeted to seniors.

That led the consultant to cut in half the projected number of school-age children in the building from what would be anticipated in a non-senior building..

1621-chicago-20200513
The now-rejected Merion Legacy development is seen at the center of this rendering.

The new project has dropped the age targeting.

City government does somewhat better under the new proposal — the smaller number of projected residents in the building reduces the increase in demand for city services.

That more than offsets a projected reduction in sales tax revenue based on lower household income projections derived from somewhat lower projected average rents from a building with fewer services.

For the three taxing bodies combined, the consultant’s reports say the first-year-of-full-occupancy benefits add up to $944,000 under the 2020 design and $720,000 under the 2022 design.

Despite the slimmer profile of the new building design and other changes, many neighbors are expected to continue their opposition to the project as it makes its way through the city’s review process.

The Design and Project Review Committee meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday in Room 2404 of the Civic Center.


Update 5/24/22: City staff says Tuesday’s DAPR meeting has been canceled after the applicants for both matters schedule for consideration withdrew their requests for review. They are expected to be rescheduled for a future meeting date.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. The same residents who oppose this project will complain that all our good retailers are leaving downtown. The single best thing we can do to support downtown retail is bring more residents downtown. That’s it. Nothing else comes comes close.

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